Pastors and Deacons

In most local churches, the preacher stands high up in a pulpit. Often, the deacons sit underneath or in the front, all together. Many churches also have another set of people, who are called elders. Members think that these are higher than deacons, but lower than the minister. Often, a deacon can be promoted to be an elder.

Usually, a minister must be ‘ordained’. That is, he must go to a Bible College and then be called ‘Reverend. Then he looks for a local church who wants a minister and it pays him to preach. Here we have a problem, because everything I have said so far is NOT found in the Bible! That means it is all wrong.

We are told in the Bible that no man must call himself 'father'. So, an Anglican or a Catholic priest is wrong to call himself 'father’. Also, no man should call himself 'reverend'. In the Bible this word is only used once and it speaks of GOD! So, how can a man use the same word for himself?

The Bible does not tell us that a pastor must first go to a college and be ‘ordained’. No, a pastor is chosen by God. He is not chosen by a college, or by a local church, or by deacons. A pastor is not given a special name or a title in the Bible. So, a man who goes around putting the word ‘pastor’ or ‘reverend’ or ‘minister’ before his name, is full of pride! He should not use any kind of title. Why not? Because he is just an ordinary member of the local church, but he has got a certain task (or job) to do. That is, God said that he must look after the spiritual health of the members. Just like a shepherd, he looks after the sheep. The Bible says that Christians are like sheep who need a shepherd. Jesus Christ is the Chief Shepherd, but He gets men on earth to look after the flock for Him. Because pastors work for Jesus (or, under Him), they are called 'under-shepherds'. This means they are not in control of the local church.....they are only looking after it for Jesus Christ. They are not like bosses!

Other members have got their own tasks to do. For example, a local church needs people to clean the place and keep it repaired. It also needs people to visit the sick etc. The Bible tells us that these jobs are done by deacons, not by the pastor. The deacons must do all the ordinary things in a church. They are not special. And they are not pastors.

A lot of people think that elders are different from pastors. But they are not. The Bible tells us that a pastor has got a few names, which all mean the same thing. So, sometimes a pastor is called an ‘elder’. At other times, he is called a ‘presbyter’*. At other times he is called a ‘bishop’. But each of these names mean the same thing. So, we can call a man a pastor, or a presbyter, or an elder, or a bishop. It does not really matter, because they all mean the same thing.

Now if they are all the same thing and every pastor is just an ordinary member of the local church, it means that many denominations have got it wrong. In the Anglican denomination, for example, there are curates and vicars, then there are deans and bishops, right up to archbishops. But none of them are found in the Bible! And you cannot find their special clothes in the Bible either, or all the things they do in the churches.

A pastor is meant to be a servant in his local church...so how can he be higher than everybody else? And a deacon is just someone who does all the running around and the ordinary things...so why is he made to feel special? And a deacon cannot be promoted to be an elder, because an elder is a pastor. There is not a different set of people called elders, because an elder is the same as a pastor. There is no such thing as a promotion in the Bible! There can be many deacons and several pastors in a local church. This is because Jesus Christ is in charge of ALL churches. Not the pastor or the deacons. They only look after it for Jesus. They are just servants. Everybody in a local church has been given tasks to do by God. In that way everybody looks after everybody else.

A pastor should not wear special clothes or a white ‘dog-collar’ around his neck. The reason many pastors wear special clothes goes back to the time when the world was ruled by the false Roman Catholic popes. In Britain, after King Henry threw out the Catholic priests, he started the Church of England. Although this new denomination had Christian pastors in it, they still wore the same types of clothes as the Catholic priests. They still used the same names for their priests, like 'bishop’ and 'archbishop' and 'priest'. This was a mistake, because the Roman Catholic religion is based on the work of the Old Testament priests. When Jesus came, He said that He had got rid of the old style of priests! So, it is wrong to have priests and special names and special clothes. Now, every Christian is the same. No Christian is higher than another Christian.

Another mistake is when we call pastors 'minister'. This is because every Christian is a minister! A 'minister' is just someone who does things for someone else. So, a person who gives money to the poor is a 'minister'; a person who visits the sick is a 'minister'; a deacon who is mending a window is a 'minister'. Everybody 'ministers' to everybody else. So, the word 'minister’ is not a title...it is what people DO. A pastor is not like a job, it is a spiritual task which a man must do. A woman cannot be a pastor. This is because a woman must not take charge in a church. The Bible says so.

It is okay to give money to a pastor, especially if he has not got much to live on. In fact, it is sinful for members not to support their pastor if he needs clothes or money or food etc. The Bible tells us that a pastor is "worthy of his hire". That means we must make sure that a pastor has got what he needs to live on. If he wishes, the pastor can say that he will not take anything. That is up to him. Paul did the same thing. In that case, members must watch and make sure that he is alright. If they think he needs money etc., then they must give it. When they do that, they honour God. On the other hand, it would be wrong for a pastor to have lots of money and free houses etc., if the members are poor. Think about these things!

© September 1993

Published on www.deafbibleministries.org.uk

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