As l left my last elders meeting at a former church, I prayed fervently that God would give me a brotherhood of colaborers to do ministry with. Men who would encourage one another toward godliness and hold one another up in the work of ministry. This was my prayer throughout the years between launching the church and finally appointing local elders. And I am thankful how the Lord answered my prayer.
The New Testament is clear that the head of the church is Jesus Christ, who is also the savior of the body (Eph. 5:23). No one else is equipped for the task of sole leadership. No one else has paid the price of ownership. No mere man can claim to be head of the church. Her head is Christ and Christ alone.
As head of the church, Christ’s will is that each local body be shepherded by a team of godly men (Acts 14:23; Phil. 1:1; Jas. 5:14). These men are called elders, shepherds (in latin: pastor) and overseers (in the KJV: bishop) throughout the New Testament. These titles are used synonymously referring to a single leadership body in the church (e.g. Acts 20:17, 28; Titus 1:5,7). The only distinction that is made among elders is found in 1 Timothy 5:17, which refers to elders who rule well and labor in preaching and teaching being worthy of double honor. This distinction is not a separate elite leader in the church but a particularly skilled elder who is uniquely devoted to preaching and teaching. Therefore elders are pastors and pastors are elders, while a few might be made available to a unique devotion to preaching and teaching, they are essentially the same.
Over the last two years, Dean Sylvies and Jamie Halverson and I have met weekly for encouragement, growth, and accountability. We know each other. We know one another’s struggle with sin, weaknesses, and we can clearly see how God is at work in each other. We have had to ask for forgiveness from one another and we have rejoiced with one another. I can joyfully say we are brothers who labor for the same mission and the same God in the same church. We are a brotherhood of colaborers for Harvest Ventura.
*next week biblical plurality