Victoria Fellowship Church
International & Interdenominational
Bible Study Worksheet – June 21, 2015
Theme: The Promised Holy Spirit
Topic: Different Kinds of Service (2)
Main Texts: 1 Timothy 3:1-12; Titus 1:5-9
Key Verse: Ephesians 4:11-12 – “So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up” (NIV)
Last Sunday, we commenced our study of Different Kinds of Callings, looking specifically at the calling of an apostle. We noted that:
- An apostle is sent to reach far and wide with the Gospel, planting churches, appointing leaders, and dealing with matters of the faith in a foundational way.
- The apostle is endowed with multiple spiritual gifts to enable him carry out his mission
- The apostolic calling is to serve the body of Christ, beyond denominational boundaries
- The apostles in the early church did not pastor churches; they reached far and wide with the Gospel, established churches and appointed leaders for them
This Sunday we will look at the Congregational Callings – Evangelists, Pastors, Teachers and Deacons. These are services that are primarily focused on establishing and nurturing the local church. We should aim to understand the roles of the various callings, and the criteria for serving in each. The discussion questions prompt us to look at our own congregation in light of what the Bible’s recommends.
In this study, we will look at what we can call the Congregational Callings – Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers. Evangelists are itinerant preachers. Their primary calling is to be on the move, preaching the Gospel of Salvation. They seize opportunities of gatherings, sensitise people to the Gospel message and invite them to receive Christ. They lead repentant sinners to Christ and hand them over to a local church for nurturing. Usually, an evangelist does not pastor a church. It is therefore not surprising that, in listing the callings to service, Paul immediately follows “evangelists” with “pastors and teachers”. One person that was explicitly called an Evangelist in the Bible is Philip who had been one of the seven Deacons – see Acts 21:8.
In 2 Timothy 4:5, Paul tells Timothy to “do the work of an evangelist.” Timothy was actually the “Bishop” or “General Overseer” of Ephesus and was not primarily an evangelist. See 1 Timothy 1:3. However, Paul asked him to include evangelistic work in his ministry. In the same way that Paul appointed Timothy to oversee the churches at Ephesus, he also appointed Titus to oversee the church in Crete – see Titus 1:4-5. A careful study of Paul’s Epistles to Timothy and to Titus shows considerable similarity in these epistles as they, more than any of the other epistles, established the foundation for church organisation, administration and key doctrinal issues. He tells Titus (Titus 1:5-7) to “appoint elders in every town”, and we see in verse 7 that the words “elder” and “overseer” refer to the same calling; he uses the word “overseer” in 1 Timothy 3:8. The words “Pastor” and “Overseer” are synonymous.
Overseers and Teachers are the key callings God has instituted for the nurturing of every local church. In describing the qualifications of an Overseer, among other things, Paul says he or she must be “able to teach” (1 Tim 3:2) and “must not be a recent convert”. The overseer’s ministry includes being a Teacher. Churches need to guard against rushing to appoint young converts into pastoral roles just because they show enthusiasm.
Although, for pure administration, the Bible recommends to have Deacons (See Acts 6:1-6), it points out that this is also a spiritual calling. We see this in Acts 6:3 where the deacons were to be “full of the Spirit and wisdom” and in 1 Timothy 3:9 where we are told “they must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience“.
1. Compare the organisation of your local church with the structure described in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1:5-7.
2. How does the appointment of people into leadership positions in your local church conform to the process described in 1 Timothy 3:1-12?
Father, as you call your people to minister in various ways for the edification of the Church, I ask that you show me where I fit in. In Jesus’ name, Amen.