SERVANT OF THE CHURCH
1. Is it in the Bible?
Ro 16:1 I commend unto you Phebe our sister, which is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea:
2. What do we believe it means?
The pastor does not have authority over the church--rather he is "God's servant" for you.
3. What does it really mean?
This is a buzzword which attempts to (if indirectly!) deal with Jesus' teaching on authority....
25 And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise
lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them
are called benefactors.
26 But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve.
this teaching tries to "fit" the pastor and the familiar function ofd the pastor into this teaching of Jesus. The pastor is the "chief servant" referred to here. The pastor "serves all" and does not have authority over the church.
(Interesting to note, the one and only use of this term in the Bible refers to a woman minister!--so much for the pastors who preach that a woman cannot be a "minister!!--the word "servant" is the Greek "diakonos"--the same word used to describe the "5-fold ministers"--therefore, Phebe was an apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor or teacher--so much for the lie of an only make "ministry"!)
this term sounds good and like all buzzwords, it fits our experience. A pastor works very hard, and most attempt to serve all the people in their church. Pastors pray for the people, and work hard for them. The fact is they work too hard. Neither Jesus or the Bible calls for one person to serve so hard. Jesus Himself--format he beginning of His ministry, operated with a group of 12 men who did all the same things He did. the church--the Body--that the Bible describes, operated thru many many people--who each did small parts in the move of God. Historians and saint-worshippers often "deify" Paul, but if one reads Paul's' own description of himself and look at his operational principles it is clear he always worked with other "fellow-soldiers" in the Lord. In fact, his was largely a writing ministry tot he churches, he was,as he stated, a rather poor public speaker (it is doubtful if Paul would "make it" as a pastor today!)
The other aspect of this concept is that nothing changes in he function of the pastor and the operation of the church. the pastor is still the sole teacher of the church--and controls most of the decision-making in the church. we can call the "servanthood" but it is in fact the same authority and power that any pastor has!
the concept itself is a contradiction in terms. A "servant who rules"? this is not what Jesus taught in Matthew 20:25-26, Mark 10:42-43, Luke 22:25-29, Jesus taught we are not to exercise authority one over another among ourselves (only He has authority over Christians). The greatest thing that any of us could accomplish would be to serve all others--certainly NOT exercise authority over others. the example Jesus gave was apostleship, a system of operating in a non-authoritarian manner--small groups--under god's direct authority.
Jesus did not invent "pastoral authority".