Pattern for Church life

The other day a friend of mine informed me that a mere 3% of our city is saved.

I asked her, “What can we do about it?”

Here’s a thought:

28 And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings [i.e., evangelists], helps [deacons], governments [pastors, elders, bishops, presbyters], diversities of tongues.

The above verse creates an exciting picture of the kinds of activities that ought to be prominent in church-life.

Notice there are six public ministries placed in the church ahead of the ministry of ‘governments’ (or pastors).

Imagine if apostles, prophets, teachers and evangelists were freely holding regular public events in your city – events that are indeed ‘first’ – that is, that played a stronger, more public, more important role than your city’s pastors.

Even the office of ‘helps’ (or deacons) is placed ahead of pastors in the above list. This was certainly the case in the early church. Remember the servers Philip and Stephen? Their public evangelism and miracles are noted in the Book of Acts, yet no elder (i.e., pastor) is ever mentioned by name nor his achievements ever singularly discussed.

The early church in Jerusalem had the opportunity of regularly attending public events held by the apostles. These events included teaching, miracles and healings. The role played by elders (i.e., pastors) was more of a supportive, facilitative role to the more prominent, public work of the apostles, prophets, teachers, and those who worked miracles and who had the gifts of healings.

When the apostles and other ministries were away doing outreaches, then the pastors would have risen to more prominent shepherding, teaching, feeding and governing roles in their churches. The elders (i.e. pastors) guided the churches to continue walking in the apostles’ doctrine; on behalf of their congregations they discerned between true and false ministries; and they always welcomed and facilitated the return visits of true apostles and prophets.

Almost any model of church government is workable provided each and everyone of us

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