Recently I was asked what church I go to. I replied, “The church in Austin.” I was then asked who the pastor was. I replied, “everyone”. This answer seemed puzzling and so I have given it more thought.
Firstly, many people are confused by the church being called the church in Austin. Personally, I can’t think of a better name for it. If you can, please let me know ASAP. This name is simple but most importantly scriptural. All of the churches in the bible are called the church which is in whatever city they are in. Acts 8:1, Romans 16:1, 1Corinthians 1:2, Revelation 2:1, 2:8, 2:12, 2:18, 3:1, 3:7, 3:14
Secondly, the title “pastor” can be confusing. The Bible does mention ‘Pastors’ which some translations call shepherds (Ephesians 4:11). Mistakenly, pastors or shepherds don’t lead a church, that is up to a group of elders (1 Timothy 3, 1 Peter 5). Also, church meetings are open for everyone to speak, not just someone with the title ‘Pastor’. This is based on 1 Corinthians 14. Two verses in particular that show this are verses 26 and 31. Verse 26 says “Whenever you come together, each one has”… Verse 31 goes on to say “you can all prophesy one by one that all may learn and all may be encouraged.”
So what does a pastor or shepherd do? Mainly they feed. They help new believers to grow and eventually to become shepherds and prophets who can prophesy.
Another question I’ve been asked is, “what does prophesy mean?” Although prophesying was used in the Old Testament times to predict and foretell, mainly concerning the coming of Christ, the New Testament has a different thought.
According to Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, prophesy means “the speaking forth of the mind and counsel of God”. It goes on to say “It is the declaration of that which cannot be known by natural means, Matt. 26:68, it is the forth-telling of the will of God, whether with reference to the past, the present, or the future, see Gen. 20:7; Deut. 18:18; Rev. 10:11; 11:3. …”
Finally Vine’s says, “The message of the prophet was a direct revelation of the mind of God for the occasion, the message of the teacher is gathered from the completed revelation contained in the Scriptures.”
In order to prophesy, we need to spend time with God in His Word to receive “the mind of God” and the “completed revelation contained in the scriptures.” In this way we can speak forth Christ, minister His word and build the church.