Tag Archives: layman

Being One of the Seven

Tuesday Re-mix –

 those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Hellenistic Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. Brothers and sisters, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.”  This proposal pleased the whole group. They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit; also Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas from Antioch, a convert to Judaism. They presented these men to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them.  Acts 6:1-6

I think I was made a partner in my law firm pretty close to the same year I was ordained as a deacon in my church.  To be honest, they felt quite a bit the same to me.  In both cases, I felt like I was being recognized for some qualities and characteristics which, in reality, I may or may not have possessed.  In both cases it felt like an achievement, an honor, a privilege and a terrifying responsibility all at the same time.  In both cases, it would cost me, but I was more than happy to pay the price.  In both cases, it meant stepping up into both servanthood and leadership.  Both occasions were spiritual markers in my life…and, in both cases, the “honor” raised a great deal more questions in my mind than it answered.

You see, in the “law …

I Do Believe in Pastoral Authority. Really.

Tuesday Re-mix-

I confess I am guilty of blurring the line between vocational ministers and laity (between those who are compensated for their ministry in a particular church and those who are not).  I also admit that I probably have a higher view of the roles and responsibilities of us average, non-professional Christians than most people have.  Finally, when you accuse me of believing and teaching that God’s call on the life of a layman is just as high and defining as His call on any professional minister, I am guilty as charged.

But none of that translates into a dim view of pastoral authority…recognizing, of course, that “dim” is a relative term.

I am always a little afraid of a pastor whose entire model of church leadership comes from the Old Testament.  When his (and I won’t add the normal “/her” because it’s pretty clear that no female leader in the church could derive her entire model for church leadership from the Old Testament) only illustrations for pastoral leadership are from characters such as Moses or David or Elijah, it tells me some scary things about that pastor.  You see, neither Moses nor David nor Elijah had any experience at all leading people who were indwelled by the Spirit of God Himself.  So, while those are important leadership (even pastoral) models, they are by no means complete illustrations for leadership in the Age of the Church.

What, then, is pastoral authority in this age?  Where does it come from and how does it inform the relationship between pastor and layman?

First, what it is and where it comes from…pastoral authority comes from speaking the Word of God exactly as God gives it to that pastor to speak.  When a pastor speaks exactly what God speaks, the authority is present.