Is There a Role for a “Minister” in the Church who doesn’t hold the office of deacon or elder?

Posted: November 24, 2009 by Rick Hogaboam in Ecclesiology (Church Stuff)
Tags: , ,

Just wanting some feedback. Here is a brief excerpt from a Pentecostal Systematic Theology:

I. Ministers.
The word “MINISTER” comes from the same Greek word that is translated “deacon.” But there are a number of passages where the word diakonos cannot refer to the office of the deacon. For instance, Paul, writing to the Corinthians, said: “Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but MINISTERS by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man?” (1 Cor. 3:5). And again, to the Ephesian church: “Whereof I was made a MINISTER, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of His power” (Eph. 3:7). Paul refers to himself as a minister five times, and several times refers to his younger workers as ministers. The term apparently emphasizes the servanthood role of the preacher. The goal of the spiritual leaders is that of equipping the saints for “ministry” (Eph. 4:12). All saints are expected to minister (verb), but the title “minister” (noun) is in every case used only of those called to spiritual leadership. When the pastor is called “the minister,” the title “minister” is being used in a perfectly scriptural way.
Duffield, G. P., & Van Cleave, N. M. (1983). Foundations of Pentecostal theology (429). Los Angeles, Calif.: L.I.F.E. Bible College.

As the Church struggles with employing lay folks into defined ministry roles, is it right to confer the title “Minisiter” upon them? Some churches are intentional in this distinction, calling a full-time children or youth worker a “Children’s Minister” or “Youth Minister” to define their role without implying that such folks are office holders within the Church. Some Churches use the “pastor” term rather loosely to refer to anyone who is devoted vocationally to a defined ministry role even if such a person is not a ordained “elder” in the sense of holding office within the body.

I’m just hammering this stuff out in my mind as I seek to integrate “team ministry” models into our local Church and wanting feedback from others who have worked through or thought through this stuff.

  1. Joel says:

    I think Protestants need to revive the office of “Doctor of the Church” for theologians who serve the church in an official capacity. Not sure if that addresses what you said.

    • Yeah, I think Calvin had sympathies toward a “4 office” model that would include the “Doctor”. I was more making reference to the idea of having specialized ministers in the life of the church which don’t hold the office of deacon or elder. Grudem’s systematic theology was helpful on this note as he said that there can be such “ministers” in the life of the Church, but their role needs to be carefully defined, etc., so as to not impugn the integrity of the offices within the local body.

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