And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. Ephesian 4:11-16, ESV.
We have already looked at three gifts God gave the church according to Ephesians 4:11: apostles and prophets whose word blesses us in the pages of the New Testament, and evangelist-missionaries who take the gospel to new places and start churches. Today we look at the fourth gift, that of shepherd-teachers or, in more familiar terms pastor-teachers.
Like the evangelist-missionary, the pastor-teacher is an active servant in the church today. The pastor-teacher is one of the two offices in the New Testament church, serving alongside deacons (Philippians 1:1; 1 Timothy 3:1-13). The pastor-teacher’s role combines the work of the shepherd, nurturing and protecting the church, and the teacher, instructing in the church in the Word of God. These two functions blend into one. The pastor-teacher nurtures and cares for the flock with the Word of God.
When we put these four gifts together, we find yet another picture of how much God loves the church. He founded His church and provided us with His Word through the inspired proclamation of apostles and prophets. He has gifted and called evangelist-missionaries to expand the reach of the good news and start new churches. He has gifted pastor-teachers to care for the church through the teaching of the Word.
The church is lacking nothing she needs to be the people of God, enjoying the presence of God, and serving Him in the world. Let us be thankful! Let us stop searching for cures to what ails the church in the ways of the world—business efficiency models and programs aimed at entertainment and marketing. God has already given the church just the right gifts to be who He wants her to be.
I am praying that you will see how truly gracious our God is to His church and find joy in Him today.