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Offices in the Church
Over the course of many
years many offices of the church have came to be misunderstood and
even misrepresented by people who have served in these offices. Part
of this is simply not really understanding what each office is and
part of it is some people who are called to an office are not
content in that office and want something that sounds a little more
important. Many people have incorrectly labeled how some of the
people are serving in their church simply because of this.
Apostle-from the Greek word apostolos- He that is sent, an ambassador of Christ. These are those that are appointed by God and serve in the capacity of whatever God has need of at any time. They may be church planters, serving as a temporary pastor or serve as a prophet to give God’s word as needed. They may serve in any of the offices as God has need of them. The “special forces” or “minutemen” of God’s army
Prophet-from the Greek word prophetes- A foreteller, an inspired speaker of words from God, one who speaks with divine authority. To serve in the office of a prophet is an obligation to deliver words from God even if it be unpleasant. To serve in the office of prophet is to be one that is known to always hear God’s voice, and to speak God’s will. This is something not often seen in today’s church as few people actually live close enough to God to hear God’s voice and to speak forth the words that the Lord gives them. Looking at the lives of the Old Testament prophets we can see that a prophet is a very well respected person and when they deliver words from God it was obeyed or they felt the wrath of God
Evangelist-From the Greek word evanggelistes- a bringer of good tidings, a name given to those in the New Testament who were not apostles. An evangelist’s messages are not for the home church, their job is to spread the good news of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Their job is to win souls to Christ, it is not to go around from church to church trying to revive the Christians.
Pastor-from the Greek word poimen meaning shepherd-One who leads and cares for a flock. A shepherd’s job is to take care of the sheep in his flock ie those people in his congregation. He is responsible for making sure that they are getting good spiritual food and not being poisoned. It is his responsibility to see that the wolves do not come in and destroy his flock and to defend them from attack. It is his responsibility to heal the sick and wounded sheep and to love them, share their lives and their trust. It is NOT his job to go out hunting new sheep for his flock. Should one of his flock stray (miss services, get involved in things they shouldn’t etc) it IS his responsibility to go and seek that member out and bring them back to the fold if at all possible. He may be responsible for a small flock or a large flock but it is HIS responsibility to make sure that flock is taken care of, not the responsibility of the prophet, apostle, or evangelist. His job is to love and care for the ones that God has sent to him.
Teacher-from the Greek word didaskalos meaning teacher-One who imparts knowledge unto others. One of the most important offices as a teacher is responsible for imparting knowledge to those who sit under them in such a way as it can be understood.
Bishop- from the Greek word episkopos meaning overseer- one who is charged with seeing things are done rightly. He is person who is an administrator and works in close association with a pastor. He may bring conflicts in the church to the pastor’s attention and assures that everything runs smoothly in the operation of the church. He does not have authority over the pastor nor does he take the place of the pastor. The office of a bishop as portrayed by the Catholic church is not the Biblical office of bishop.
Deacon-from the Greek word diakonos-One who executes the commands of another, a servant, one who cares for the poor. These are those men in the church who do the necessary day to day activities from mowing the grass to ministering to the needs of the poor.
Elder-from the Greek word presbyteros-an older well respected member of the church, a title of respect. It is not technically an office but rather a standing in the church of those older members whose lives have been proved.
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