We need more Pastor-Teachers!

11 He gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. (Ephesians 4:11-14)
 
22 The report of this came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. 23 When he came and saw the grace of God, he was glad, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose, 24 for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord.  (Acts 11:22-24)
 
3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.  (2 Timothy 4:3-4)
The final ‘Ephesians 4 ministry’ that Jesus gifted to his Church after ascending back to heaven is that of the pastor-teacher. The Greek text makes it clear that this is one leader, rather than two, and this also makes sense to us. It’s pretty hard to shepherd somebody as a pastor without teaching them what God’s Word says!

There are lots of great pastor-teachers across Everyday Church, so what makes somebody an ‘Ephesians 4 Pastor-Teacher’? I believe that one of the marks of a recognised ‘Ephesians 4 Pastor-Teacher’ is that they have a teaching ministry that is translocal and which ministers to the wider Body of Christ beyond their own local church. Phil Moore is this type of leader for many other churches, but we also need Pastor-Teachers who will speak into our own church. Every local church needs external leaders who will spot and speak into doctrinal error, so that our pastors shepherd people well. Barnabas is a great example of an ‘Ephesians 4 Pastor’. Wherever he goes in the book of Acts, he seems to provide pastoral input to church congregations and their leaders. He does this by teaching them from the Bible.

Nowadays, pastors (also known as elders in the New Testament) can become quite isolated. They need somebody to pastor them through their own personal challenges. Some have family problems. Others simply feel overwhelmed by the demands of pastoral care within their local church. This is truer than ever during the Covid-19 crisis! It is good news for all of us that the Everyday Church elders have people outside the church that they can turn to. Being part of New Ground brings great security to our congregations and to those who serve as elders of them.
‘Ephesians 4 Pastor-Teachers’ also help our elders to tackle the many modern challenges to what the Apostle Paul describes as “sound doctrine“. In an age of internet and YouTube, you can find all sorts of theological statements online. But are all of them true and healthy? More than ever, we need leaders who have been set apart to spend time thinking, studying and refuting error. Pastor-teachers must not live in an academic bubble – these are leaders within churches, who help real people to grapple with real questions through insightful Bible teaching. Ephesians 4:13-14 and 2 Timothy 4:3-4 encourage us to realise how relevant and indispensable such people are for us today.

We thank God that we are able to turn to gifted ‘Ephesians 4 Pastor-Teachers’ throughout our New Ground family. Let’s pray for Jesus to gift Everyday Church with many more such leaders for the times that lie ahead.
1) Many church leaders are under real strain right now. Can you think of ways in which you might encourage them?

2)  We live in days of much theological confusion. Who do you look to or listen to help you think these issues through? How can you devote yourself to the teaching of your pastor-teachers?

3)  Do you agree that it is vital that Everyday Church doesn’t go it alone? Then pray for more ‘Ephesians 4 Pastor-Teachers’ who can help and shape our leaders. Pray for our church to walk in ‘sound doctrine’.
Father God, I’m so grateful that, during challenging seasons such as this one, you have promised to be with us and never to forsake us. I’m so grateful that one of the ways that you reveal your presence with us is by raising up some to be pastor-teachers. Please increase their number and use them to build up and protect the Body of Christ. Amen.
If you have time, consider carrying on your conversation with God using one of our helpful Prayer Pathways.
Today’s Everyday Devotions have also inspired a devotional video that you can watch on our YouTube channel.
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