Responsibilities of Pastors to the Church
God’s organized organism is the local church. The local church is made up of sinners who have placed their trust in Christ alone for forgiveness and restoration of relational worship with God having become saints. God has placed leadership over his church to guide her and protect her, not to lord and control the church’s saints (I Pet. 5:1-4). God gave the church two categories of gifted leaders both to form the structure and to facilitate growth and expansion of the church (Eph. 4:11-13). God’s ultimate intent is glory in and through the church (Eph. 3:21). God’s glory in building his church is accomplished when God’s leadership and God’s people function in harmony with each other. There is a Biblical pattern for how this is accomplished.
Formative Gifts (Eph. 4:11)
Originally, God gave Apostles to form the structure of the church, this was the job of the twelve, Paul calls himself one born out of due time, and the least of the Apostles. In other words, he recognized that the original twelve were apostles, and he was the exception to the rule. God used the Apostles to give Spirit led structure and teaching to the church. As the Apostles died off, so did their gift, but their teaching remains in the NT which really is God’s teaching as he led each one specifically in his writing (II Tim. 3:16; II Pet. 1:20-21). Prophets were other individuals God used along with the Apostles to form doctrine and correct understanding of God’s Word—Mark, James, Jude, Luke, were examples of Prophets. As the Word of God was completed and the Apostolic age came to a conclusion, the prophetic gifts also ceased to be necessary for the church. The Apostles and Prophets were used of God to form his church, and God used the next two gifted leaders to expand and lead his church.
Expansive Gifts (Eph. 4:11)
Evangelists or literally, gospelizers, were those individuals who were led by God to expand the ministry of the church by preaching the Gospel and organizing together those who accept the Gospel into local churches. I believe many have misunderstood the gift of evangelists and have characterized them as itinerate preachers who travel in RV’s doing week long revival meetings. I hardly believe that is what Paul had in mind when he told Timothy, the young pastor, to do the work of an evangelist. The fourth tier of leadership God gave is called Pastor/Teacher.