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Ephesians 4:11: Evangelists and Pastors-Teachers


Ephesians 4:11
[11] And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, (ESV)

We established that the Apostles and Prophets were the foundation that Christ built the church upon.  Their gift is one of sound doctrine.  As we base all that we do on the teaching of the Apostles and Prophets we will have a strong and stable church that will not be swept away by falsehood.

This verse continues to lists the gifts of shepherds and teachers. The word for shepherd is interchangeable with pastor.  So for our benefit, we will refer to them as pastors.  And even more helpful is to note that the phrase pastors and teachers is a combined role.  We could write it this way: pastor-teachers.

We have evangelists, pastors and teachers that are given to keep the work going in the church. They are a gift that is to keep on giving. Evangelists have gotten a bad name in recent years. The term is usually associated with a manipulative TV preacher who is taking advantage of poor and vulnerable people to pad their own pockets. But, scripturally Evangelists are a gift of Christ himself to the body.
R. Kent Hughes describes them this way:

“Today, “evangelists” are the obstetricians of the Church -- those gifted in bringing new births. One of the sorrows of our day is that this name has become a term of derision because of the disgrace of  self-styled or so-called evangelists. To me it is the highest of titles. Billy Graham, evangelist! Luis Palau, evangelist! All who are gifted in making the gospel plain and relevant to the lost or helping fearful people share their faith, evangelists! What marvelous gifts to the church!
- Hughes, R. Kent. Ephesians: The Mystery of the Body of Christ, Crossway Books, Wheaton, IL, page 133.

What a gift it is to have those who are skilled in helping to reap the harvest of souls into God’s kingdom. This last leadership gift is a combination title, “Pastors and Teachers.” The word pastor speaks of shepherding God’s holy people. The role of teaching is attached to that role of pastoring. In fact, in the qualifications laid out for elders, it is required that they be “apt to teach.” If one is called to pastor and teach God’s people, it is an incredible honor.

A pastor/teacher, if he is following the Savior, teaching according to the foundation laid by the apostles and prophets, can certainly be a valuable gift to the church. In fact, the Lord wants there to be such a good relationship with those leaders that he has given to the church that the church is helped to become unified, mature, not being tossed around by false doctrine.  The writer of Hebrews says:

Hebrews 13:17
[17] Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.

Evangelists and Pastor-Teachers.  Gifts to the church.  If they are teaching the foundational truths established by Apostles and Prophets, you are compelled to heed their words and submit to them.  How well are you doing with that?  

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