Yet the pressure on the pastor – as well as elders and deacons – can be great. With the multiplication of ministers on staff, it is easier to gravitate toward a more hierarchical business model. And it is less likely that the sheep will come into physical contact with their shepherd when they are consumers of a service that a CEO oversees.
– Horton, Michael, Ordinary: Sustainable Faith in a Radical, Restless World; Zondervan; copyright 214; Kindle Edition; page 119
Pastors may have some wonderful things to say, and some personal stories to make us feel connected to them. But in their office they are no longer private persons but Christ’s ambassadors. Through this office, assigned to them, God himself judges, justifies and commands. Similarly, elders rule and deacons serve on Christ’s behalf – not in their persons, but in assembly as office bears.
– Horton, Michael, Ordinary: Sustainable Faith in a Radical, Restless World; Zondervan; copyright 214; Kindle Edition; page 115
The sheep are not “self-feeders” and the church does not simply provide resources for Christian activity. Rather, through the ministry of Word and sacrament and the spiritual and physical care of elders and deacons, every part of the body is served and is enabled to serve the body as well as its neighbors in the world. He has gifted ministers to do the work of ministry so that “we all” can become mature Christians,
Horton, Michael; The Gospel Driven Life: Being Good News People in a Bad News World; Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI; Copyright 2009; page 184
Most often our sin problem is in the area I call “refined” sins. There are the sins of nice people, sins that we can regularly commit and still retain our positions as elders, deacons, Sunday School teachers and yes, even full-time Christian workers.
What are some of these “refined” sins? As I look at my own life, one of the first that came to mind was the tendency to judge others and to speak critically of them to other people. That this sin came to mind so quickly surprised me, because I don’t think of myself as a critical or judgmental person. Perhaps that is part of the problem.
– Bridges, Jerry; The Disciplined of Grace:God’s Role and Our Role in the Pursuit of Holiness; NavPress; Colorado Springs; copyright 1994; p. 32-33
The ministry of the church is God’s service to us through pastors, teachers, elders and deacons, which generates a thankful community of genuine gift giving that overflows to the world. The kingdom of God is something we are receiving, not something we are building (Hebrews 12:28)
– Horton, Michael; Christless Christianity: The Alternative Gospel of the American Church; Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI; copyright 2008; p. 233