x153......Church is not a building and office is not a room!

The word "church" is handed down to us by tradition as a building--a place of worship. But the Bible use of the word church is the word for a group of believers--a "body of Christ". So, what's the big difference? Well, perhaps we can be lead in wrong directions by our traditional concepts. For one thing--we often hear it said that a "minister" (usually a pastor) has been "given" this building. That is to say that we look with our eyes--rather than by what the word of God says--and are impressed by the "building than God has given" a certain person or group of people. It is my experience that the bigger and more ornate the building the less of the Spirit of God dwells inside! Yet we get ourselves impressed with the idea that someone has been "given a church" by God. Sorry, it is the people in the building that are the church. Anyone can rent a hall and hold meetings--this is not a church!~ It is the Spirit of God moving in believers--it is the movement of God trough each and every part of His body that constitutes a church.

We play out the calling of God, through our own experience. Anyone who is a pastor, certainly received a call from God. God asks someone to serve Him--to use their gift--usually of teaching the word---and we play the calling out into our own particular church experience. A young catholic boy hears from God, and believes he must attend seminary, recieve the prescribed education, make his vows of allegience to the church and to the pope, and wear medieval robes and a funky looking collar. A young pentecostal boy hears the same call from God--to serve---but plays out the call by "submitting to the right authority" goin' to Bible school--learning how to preach loudly--and buying himself and his wife some outdated clothing.

In order for anyone to "get into ministry" they absolutely must have been someone who submitted to authority---to the leading of another person who was a leader. Therfore they must be people who beleive in the "system"--and will carry on the "system".

In the Bible we see that believers in a certain area are referred to as the "church" of Ephesus--or Corinth--or Rome--etc. WE know by scripture that as long as two or more are gathered in the name of Jesus--He comes and dwells in the midst. It is just as much a "church" when 5 people meet in their kitchen and pray to God in the name of Jesus Christ as a 10,000 seat "church" in which a bunch of people have fallen asleep and in which 99% of the people are sitting useless, not functioning in their anointing--their gifts.

The second point we want to consider is the concept of "office".. In the Bible--the word office actually does not exist in the new testament. That is to say, that the "office" (Greek: hierateia) in the Bible was strictly used as a designation for the Levitical priesthood--the "office of the high priest" This makes perfect sense when we understand that under the old covenant, only those born into the tribe of Levi could be priests--therefore they had a special designation--an "office". The Levitical priesthood was an hierarchy---but the same Greek word (hierateia) was not used in any way to describe new covenant ministry. Yes, the word "office is used a handful of times--but it is always another Greek word---usually diakonos--meaning servant---NOT hierarchal ruler. However, the new covenant tells us clearly that we are all made "kings and priests" (Revelation 1:6, 5:10) unto God when we are born again into His kingdom. In the new covenant there is not specific group of people who are designated (by birth or any other means --such as education) to an "office" of ministry.

In translating the Bible, perhaps translators have always regarded the word "office" by the conditions they see around them., rather than by the true Greek meanings of the the words. That is to say that Bibles have always been translated from the Greek by people who considered themselves leaders or authorities of Christians, and they saw it fit to designate in some places the concept that only some people have a special "office" in the church--or are specially designated by God to be superior to other Christians. The King James Bible gives itself away by it's title. It is a very accurate translation of the Greek---except with regard to ministry and authrority. It was a Bible which was translated in part to justify the absolute monarchy of a "Christian king" (who had "authority" to "rule" over his "subjects" who were "under" him). Whatever king James said was supposedly the absolute will of God--he was the head of the church (oops, I thought Christ was the Head of the church?) annd whatever the king said--was considered to be God's word. It is clear fact that the kings of the protestant reformation took on the same position that the popes of the Roman church had established for the previous 1,000 years.

However, when we honestly look at the Bible we se that the word "office' is the Greek word...

diakonia diakonia {dee-ak-on-ee'-ah} n f

---ministry 16, ministration 6, ministering 3, misc 9; 34

1) service, ministering, esp. of those who execute the commands of others
2) of those who by the command of God proclaim and promote
religion among men
2a) of the office of Moses
2b) of the office of the apostles and its administration
2c) of the office of prophets, evangelists, elders etc.
3) the ministration of those who render to others the offices of
Christian affection esp. those who help meet need by either
collecting or distributing of charities
4) the office of the deacon in the church
5) the service of those who prepare and present food

(notice how the word "office" is used in this definition---yet the word purely means a servant and not a ruler)

This word is most often translated as "ministry"--meaning" to serve". For example, when Paul said he had the "office of an apostle" he was not saying that he was designated by God to hold a superior position above other Christians--he was simply saying that he had the ministry of an apostle--or rather that he served God by doing the work of an apostle in the earth.

However, when we accept the idea of a "superior" ministry given to some--we face the situation in which some people believe that the work of a pastor is an office--a physical place where the pastor does his work. This is ridiculous and in fact undermines the concept of a pastor. I have heard this said by a pastor.

"I see people with problems all the time--and yet they don't want to come to my office--they don't seem to want my ministry. I am available all the time--it is just necessary for someone to come and sit under my office--they need to avail themselves of the office of my pastorship--make an appointment to see me anytime--this is the way God has made it--it is just necessary for people to come under the benefits of my office."

This type of thinking is dangerous, and very un-Biblical. The word pastor means shepherd. A shepherd tends the sheep --not the other way around. The concept of an "office of ministry" (this is a redundant saying anyway--"ministry of ministry??") makes some people think they have the ministry of sitting in an office and dealing with people when they come and ask them for it. Do sheep have to make and appointment to see the shepherd? This type of limiting behavior is what holds back the church and hinders Christian growth. So many Christians grow at a glacial pace because they simply do not really have a pastor--someone who tends them and leads them personally and specifically. Instead we have many who believe they are like a principle in a school--sitting in authority over the common people who have to go a beg for their grand and glorious ministry. There are multitudes of "pastors"within our churches who do their work without any accolades or desks to sit behind. They are people who are lead by God to pray for others, to councel others--to help others in their troubles. These are the real pastors--The real danger is that when the "authoritative" pastor makes his strict claims upon the "sheep" so many people who could pray and help others--who could really do pastoral work are hindered by the concept of "office". There are so many who are stopped by the concept of "office" from finding their real gift. It happens very often (unfortunately) that when a person counsels another--the leadership--the "real pastor" might even stop this type of thing--might preach a sermon about the idea that he is the only one who should really be giving advice and council in the church. This type of ministry is the most lacking in our churches! We should have many many pastors --perhaps on for every 4 or 5 people in the church. "personal pastors" who would intimately know the people who they are guiding--who could lead them to the correct teaching--lead them in the word of God and pray for them personally. So many could be pastors--helping and shepherding others in tier needs--if we would only see the pastoral annointing as the Bible defines it--a gift in all of us--for all of us to operate in when the Lord directs.Perhps then we could disregard our incorrect traditions, which hinder the healing power of God that He has given all of us.