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What About Pastors, Elders and Deacons?


The Bible doesn't really say much about pastors (as a noun).  It talks about elders (plural) who are to pastor (a verb meaning to care for as a shepherd cares for sheep) the local church members.  Pastors (as a noun) are only mentioned among the five traveling ministries/offices in Ephesians 11.  Something happened during the dark ages to destroy the order of the church.  New ideas were introduced by people who, I'm sure, were well-meaning.  They changed the pattern of the Scripture into something else that has severe faults.

As with the local church of Scripture, so with the universal church of the Scripture, it is ruled by elders and deacons.  The Bible has a lot to say about these universal elders and deacons, just as it has a lot to say about local elders and deacons.  There are apostolic elders and apostolic deacons.  There are elders (plural) and deacons (plural) in the local churches who are set by apostles and are in submission to the apostles.  

If some churches choose to follow orders that are not scriptural, God will still bless those churches as much as is possible.  Extra-biblical orders, forms, and rituals bind the Spirit of God and diminish the blessing that God is able to give.  For instance, some churches try to function under laws and rules rather than allowing the grace of God to do God's works through the people of God.  This frustrates the grace of God.  Others make a law that there are no rules or laws, teaching lawlessness, and don't allow the grace of God to do God's works through the people of God.  This also frustrates the grace of God. 

 The extra-biblical pastor system has done terrible damage to the Churches that are under that system.  It is plain, in Scripture, that this is not God's order, yet the order is defended by many.  Can God bless a church with a hired pastor or a head pastor instead of the order of elders who serve according to the pattern of Scripture?  Can God bless a church when the pastor uses the Bible verses that were written about apostles (traveling elders) to justify a salary for himself (a person who is working in a local church--not an apostle)?  Can God bless a church that is pastured by a man who has never been called by God to pastor a church?  Of course God can.  The blessing will be limited by the disorder.  Disorders are sin.  Sin has consequences.  At the same time, God will bless to the extent that He can.  And He calls to those people in disorder to come into His order.  

The Bible defines two levels of elders and deacons, local and those having responsibility for the church universal.  The Bible shows no record of local elders and deacons receiving any salary, and historical documents back up the fact that they did not.  The local elders were the bishops (overseers), but at a certain point, a new idea was introduced to separate the office of elder from the office of bishop.  A single bishop was appointed over each local church and this person began to receive a salary.  However, for the local elders, who are bishops according to the pattern of Scripture, they received a double measure of honor--no money.  The apostles, those elders and deacons with authority and responsibility over the church universal, were required to travel.  It would be very difficult for such a person to support himself and his family, though Paul did.  The Scripture says specifically that these men were to receive their living from their work in the gospel.  Local men earned their living just as fathers in homes earn their living.

It should be mentioned that, without having the apostles overseeing and helping when needed, it would be almost impossible to have a local church that operates with elders who are co-equal and who govern each other.  This order of apostles overseeing the church universal and local elders and deacons governing the church local is very rare in the earth, though it is the only Scriptural pattern.  In fact, the author is not aware of any group other than those apostles who are part of that move of the Spirit that began in 1948 where this order is maintained.

Last updated: Nov, 2012
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