B. Childress
Aug 3, 2007

Whenever we study church government, we should go to the Word of God to understand how God wants His church to
be established:  God has given us his guidelines and principals in His Word, but He leaves the responsibility of how to
apply those guidelines and principals to us.

What is the origin of the word "church."  The word "church" in 1 Corinthians 12:28, comes from the Greek word
ekklesia.  Ekklesia comes from another Greek word ekkaleo.  Ekkaleo is a compound word .  It is made from two word
ek-  and kaleo. Ek means "out" and kaleo means "to call."  Thus, what the word "church" really means is "the called
out ones" or the "chosen ones" as translated in Ephesians 1:4.  When Paul said we were chosen in Him before the
foundation of the world, the same word is used (

What is church?  First Corinthians 12:27-28 says, "
Now ye are the body of Christ and members in particular."  Today,
the word "church" is loosely used to describe a building made of brick and mortar, which could also house a disco,
school, industry, or retail store.  The universal church is made up of every born-again believer on the face of the
earth.  Every group of believers who worships together is a segment of the "universal church."  Those segments that
meet together are "local churches."

The church has been called out.  If the church is the "called out" or "chosen" ones, there has to be someone calling or
"God hath set some in the church." 1Corinthians 12:28  God is doing the calling or choosing.  Ephesians 4:
11 says,
"And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;"
- but who is "he."  To understand, we can look at Ephesians 4:8-10, "WHEN HE ASCENDED UP ON HIGH, HE LED
CAPTIVITY CAPTIVE, AND GAVE GIFTS UNTO MEN. (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended
first into the lower parts of the earth?  He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens,
that he might fill all things)."
 The Lord Jesus Christ if the "he" who ascended, and the He Who gave gifts to men.

Referring back to 1Corinthians 12:28, God the Father is the One who sets the ministry gifts in the church:  these
ministry gifts are chosen by God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ in combined authority.  Jesus is the One who
calls and appoints the ministry gifts.  The One (Jesus) who does the calling has authority over the one He calls
(whoever chooses the ministry gift has authority over the one He calls);  whoever chooses the ministry gift has
authority over the one who is chosen.  So, who is head of the church?  Ephesians 1:22-23 says,
"And hath put all
things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body the fullness of him
that filleth all in all."
The Lord Jesus Christ is the Head of the church.  He was given that position by God the Father.  
He was given authority over the church by God the Father as well all ministry gifts He chooses to distribute.

"And he gave some, apostles, and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For
the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ."
 Ephesians 4:11-


The Greek word poimen occurs 17 times in the New Testament - only one time is it translated "pastor" which is in
Ephesians 4:11.  The other 16 times, it is translated "shepard."  In Ephesians 4:11 Paul is saying that the pastor is to
be the shepard of his flock, of his church.  The Hebrew word
ra' ah means to "tend sheep" and is translated "pastor"
eight times in the Old Testament: In Jeremiah 3:15, God said:  "And I will give you pastors according to mine (own)
heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding."

The fourth ministerial office is that of the pastor and the only ministry gift given to the local congregation.  The office of
pastor is probably the most widely recognized office in Christian ministry today.

  • As with the other offices, there is an "anointing" attached to this office - an anointing to pastor.   A pastor should
    also be equipped with supernatural equipment, i.e., the word of wisdom, the word of knowledge, and even with
    tongues and interpretation.

  • God did not use the titles pastor and shepard without purpose. The first quality of a pastor is that he is the
    leader:  He heads his flock and makes decisions concerning them.  His main function is to find pasture for them.  
    He teaches them the Word of God and as such, he needs to spend much time in the Word and in prayer to feed
    his gift and mature in his office.  Realizing, however, that many in his congregation have expertise in natural
    fields even other may be more mature in the Word than he, but all can benefit him through counsel - he must
    remain teachable.  He must also lean on the anointing that accompanies his office - the ability of the Holy Spirit
    accompanies every ministry gift (Romans 11:29).

Jesus stood in all of the five-fold ministry offices (Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor, and Teacher.)  Jesus said in
Luke 4:18,
The Lord is called the Chief Shepard (pastor).  Because the
Lord Jesus is chief pastor, the local pastor is under His authority, "I am the good shepard, and know my sheep, and am
known of mine.  As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.  And other
sheep I have, which are not of this fold:  them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one
fold and one shepard:  John 10:14-16  Jesus is talking here about the universal church - all believers around the
world.  Jesus did not see only people as people, but a multitude in need and he was moved by their needs.  He saw
that they fainted and were scattered, like sheep with no shepard.  They needed a pastor.

  • The office of pastor according to Peter in 1 Peter 5:1-4, "The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also
    an elder (Peter), and a witness of the suffering of Christ, and also partaker of the glory that shall be revealed:
    Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; nor for
    filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.  
    And when the Chief Shepard shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away."  Peter was
    exhorting the elders of the church.  Even though the word "pastor" is not mentioned in the verse above Peter
    points out that, 1) he is an elder (verse 1);   2) he said "feed the flock of God" - this refers to pastors (the Greek
    word for feed, poimen, means pastor or shepard) ; 3)  Who is the shepard?  Peter refers to the pastor as an
    elder (Chief elder).  In the Word of God, the term is quite freely used for the office of pastor.

In the phrase, "taking the oversight," (oversight is
episkopos; bishopric) Peter is stating that the pastor is the only one
who can oversee God's flock, however, he (the pastor) must take the initiative  - have some gumption to take
leadership of the church.  Even though God speaks to the pastor and gives him guidance and direction in what the
congregation should hear, God puts the responsibility for leadership squarely on the pastor's shoulders.

Qualifications given to this charge (according to 1 Peter 5:1-4):

1)  "willingly" - The pastor is to take this office "willingly" rather than by "constraint" or of necessity.  A pastor should
never take this position because he has to.  When God calls a pastor, he gives him a pastor's heart, the desire to help
people spiritually.

2)  "filthy lucre" - the pastor's reason for accepting this position should not be for money.  Verse four says that when
the Chief Shepard, Christ Jesus, appears, He will reward the pastor.

3)  "Neither as being lord over God's heritage" - The pastor is not to be a dictator.  The flock is God's heritage.  It
should be clear that the pastor does not own the flock in any sense; he merely has responsibility over it.  Moses
watched Jethro's sheep.  He was the shepard, but the sheep belonged to Jethro.  For the pastor who understands
that, it is great freedom.  The sheep belong to God.  The pastor always has recourse in the owner.  He can always talk
to the owner (God) about the sheep and their problems  The owner (God) will take care of the things the shepard
cannot handle.

4)  "ensamples" - A pastor leads - he does not tell his congregation to do anything he would not do himself both in
word and deed.  A pastor must maintain the qualities he expects of those below him.

In the local congregation, it is also clear that the people do not ultimately answer to the pastor; they answer to God -
again, he owns the sheep.  The pastor's responsibility is to admonish (to indicate duties or obligations) them and feed
them from the Word of God.  Once the people walk out the door, whether or not they live the Word is their
responsibility.  That does not mean the pastor has no concern for them; he simply cannot dictate to them:  He can
encourage and exhort them, but he cannot watch over their lives.  Just remember the "chief pastor," the Lord Jesus
Christ hears every word that is spoken.  He never leaves you or forsakes you.

  • In Acts 20:17-28, Paul met with the elders of Ephesus, "And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the
    elders of the church."

Elders is used in the plural because there were many churches in Ephesus.  The churches were not as they are today
- they did not have large congregations. Most of them met in homes.  But we know those elders were pastors from
what Paul said to them in verse twenty-eight:
"Take heed therefore unto yourselves and to all the flock, over which the
Holy Ghost hath made you overseers to feed the church of God which he hath purchased with his own blood."
made these elders to be overseers - the Holy Spirit.

Paul had to be addressing pastors because the office of a bishop is something a man aspires to (1 Timothy 3:1) - it is
not a ministry gift given by the Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 4:11).

  • The pastor is called the overseer in his congregation.  The pastor has authority over all elders and bishops
    under him and is the one who chooses them.

  • Paul said to feed the flock of God.  As discussed above, to "feed" means to pastor.  Again the flock belongs to
    God.  The purchase price is the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Whoever purchases, owns.

  • Since the pastor is head of the local church, his office is obviously the most important, and his function must be
    a success if the church is to have the supernatural movement of God - the aim of his calling.

  • The pastor is to equip the saints with the knowledge of God's Word that will enable them to go out and do the
    work of the ministry, "Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a
    perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ:..."  Ephesians 4:13

-  The Apostle Paul addressed the pastors of Ephesus at Miletus. He told them he had fulfilled his responsibility to
them and he also provided them with a guideline for pastors in the work of perfecting the saints,
"And when they were
come to him, he said unto them, Ye know, from the first day that I came into Asia, after what manner I have been with
you at all seasons, Serving the Lord with all humility of mind, and with many tears, and temptations, which befell me by
the lying in wait of the Jews:  And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and
have taught you publickly, and from house to house,...Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the
blood of all men.  For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.  Take heed therefore unto
yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Hoy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God,
which he hath purchased with his own blood."
 Acts 20:18-20, 26-28

1)  Paul encouraged them by telling them of the trials he had faced and had overcome.

2)  He told them that they were responsible for their own spiritual progress.  Why?  Because he had kept back nothing
that was profitable for them; he gave them (the whole counsel of God - revelation knowledge he (Paul) had received
from God), the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

The responsibility of the pastor begins when he receives revelation from the Holy Spirit, and it does not end until he
passes it on to his congregation.  If he fails to do that, he then becomes responsible for their failures - their blood is on
his hands.

Paul said he had proclaimed the whole counsel of God in public and also in the homes of the believers.  He held
nothing back.  Their blood could not be on his hands, so Paul told the pastors the same things.  The pastors were
required to do the same.

  • The Apostle Paul speaks again in 2 Corinthians 6:11-13, "O ye Corinthians, our mouth is open unto you, our
    heart is enlarged.  Ye are not straitened in us, but ye are straitened in your own bowels.  Now for a recompence
    in the same, ('I speak as unto my children) be ye also enlarged."

The Word of God should be continuously in your mouth.  By meditating in the Word, your heart becomes enlarged with
the Word.  Then when you open your mouth to teach, you will be giving out the Word of God:  Out of the abundance
(largeness) of the heart, the mouth speaks.

In verse 12, Paul says that they were not
"straitened" in him.  The word "straitened" means hindered by.  The word
"bowels" refers to emotions.  So we can read verse twelve, "You are hindered by your emotions." Paul was saying that
those believers were hindered by their emotions.

In verse eleven, Paul was saying that these people were not hindered spiritually by him because he had taught them
everything that was in his heart - he had not spared anything.  But in verse twelve, he is saying they were being
hindered by their own emotions.  When your heart is not full of the Word of God, you are subject to your own feelings
and emotions and they rule you.

  • The worst kind of Christian is one who is living by feeling:  they get inspired in church, but the feelings do not
    last.  After hearing a very inspirational message, the feelings wear off and there is nothing left.

The Greek lists pastors and teachers together as a single ministry gift in Ephesians 4:11,12).  When a pastor-teacher
feeds his people the Word, when the inspiration of the service goes away and the emotions settle, the Word stays in
your heart.  Your heart remains enlarged, you are not hindered by your emotions.  You begin to live by the Word of
God and not by how you feel. The Apostle Paul was not controlled by his emotions.

Paul was telling the pastors from Ephesus that he was no longer responsible for them any longer because he had
taught them all he knew to teach them - so they had to take up from there.  
"Take heed to yourselves" meant they had
to apply the counsel of God to themselves and to pass it on to their congregations so the people could walk by the
Spirit and the Word and not by their feelings.

  • A person called to be a shepherd or pastor to a flock would be more or less settled in the locality of the flock he
    is to oversee - stationary.

  • Without the ministry gift of pastor operating in the Body of Christ, then all other ministry is practically in vain -
    there would be no one to shepard the lambs, to pastor and take them on in God.  They would fall by the wayside.

  • No other office is given so much instruction in the New Testament as is the pastoral Office.


  • Peter told the pastors of his day, "Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof...
    Neither as being lord (dictators) over God's heritage,..."  (1 Peter 4:2,3)  Authority is something that must be
    exercised with boldness yet with love and concern for those in the congregation.  A pastor is no more a dictator
    over the local church than husband is over a family or Jesus is over the universal church.

  • There is a flow of submission and authority within the Godhead.  The Holy Spirit is in submission to the Lord
    Jesus Christ, and the Lord Jesus is in submission to God, the Father.  Yet all three submit to each other when it
    is necessary.  Out of this love relationship comes power.  There can be submission and authority at the same
    time, however, this only occurs as equality is recognized.

  • Obedience without submission is slavery.  Authority only exists and works when someone submits.  Submission
    is the reception of authority; Rebellion is the rejection of authority.  God is opposed to rebellion - it is of Satan
    himself - it is defined in the Word as the sin of witchcraft.

  • Rebellion causes one of two thing to happen; 1) The person in the position of authority either loses his
    authority or, 2)  tries to exert his authority with force.  When the latter happens, the person in submission will
    either cracks and come under authority against his will or rebel even more.  Rebellion at the bottom causes
    more pressure from the top.  It becomes a vicious cycle until something gives.  Anarchy is the result of this cycle.

  • God's system of authority is never based on force but on love and submission - all members being in
    submission to each other.

  • Jesus Christ loves the church and gave His life for it.  Husbands are to love their wives as Christ loves the
    church and as they love their own bodies (Ephesians 5:28,29).  This is the care a man should have for his body
    and his wife and the care a pastor should have for his congregation.  Jesus had this kind of care for the
    universal church and the local pastor stands in the same position over the church body under his care.  He
    should exercise his authority in the love of God.

  •  Pastors should never take the attitude that they do not need every member of their congregation.  And sheep,
    members of the congregation, should never take the attitude that they do not need the pastor, the shepard,
    whom God has set in the local church for their good.

In summary, the characteristics of a pastor today are:

1)  A shepard over the flock - God's flock, His heritage.

2)  To feed the flock the Word of God - to convey the whole counsel of God including any revelations he might receive
where applicable.  He is responsible for equipping the flock to do the work of the ministry.

3)  To willing accept the call to pastor and not accept the call for "filthy lucre" (money).

4)  One who does not dictate to (lord over) the flock.

5)   One who walks in good character, integrity, and love according to the Word - a good example for others.

6)  One who admonishes the flock (indicates and reinforces duties and responsibilities) when necessary, while
encouraging and exhorting them.

7)   Should possess some spiritual gifts.

8)   Should be teachable and flexible while maintaining a leadership role in the church.


The Ministry Gifts by Kenneth E. Hagin, Copyright 1998 RHEMA Bible Church.

Understanding the Anointing by Kenneth E. Hagin, Copyright 1983 RHEMA Bible Church.

The Gifts and Ministries of the Holy Spirit by Lester Sumrall, Copyright 1982, Lester Sumrall Evangelical
Association (LeSea).

Decently and In Order by Bob Yandian, Copyright 1983,1987, Whitaker House.