“Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.” (Acts 20:28)
The Spirit chooses leaders for the church. Thus the seven Grecian Jewish Christians were all full of he Spirit, and Paul and Barnabas were called to be missionaries by the Spirit.
This passage indicates that pastors/priests and overseers (bishops) are identical offices designated by different terms. The same leaders are also called elders. The person responsible for a church is portrayed under the image of shepherd who cares for a flock and under the image of overseer (bishop) which is over many churches. The bishop gives guidance to a particular church. Several titles, but in fact, they are all servants of God, just in differing capacities.
PRAYER FOR THE DAY:
Precious Abba, Your church has many types of titles of various duties within Your church, but they all have in common their being servants of God. Even the congregations may or may not have specific titles, but they have in common the responsibilities as Christians, to be evangelists, to continue the work of Christ’s ministry on this earth. Give each of us strength, courage, and the Spirit to take seriously this work and bring others into the church to increase the numbers of workers to further the kingdom in our communities. In Jesus’s name that we pray this. Amen
THOUGHT OF THE DAY:
“Things work out best for those who make the best of the way things work out!”
“Is anyone of you sick? He should call he elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord.” (James 5:14)
Elders have the responsibility for pastoral oversight and visitation of the sick, orphans, and widows. This would include pastors/priests/deacons, as their physical presence with the sick best demonstrates the love and support of the church and fosters hope for God’s power to be manifested in healing.
In your churches, you may have these elders and maybe also pastoral visitors, who are lay people who have been called to serve the home bound, so this has taken on a new meaning for those who visit the sick or infirmed.
“In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Grecian Jews among hem complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. Do the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, ‘It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. Brothers, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of he word. This proposal pleased the whole group. They chose Stephen, a man full of faith ad the Holy Spirit; also Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas from Antioch, a convert to Judaism. They presented these men to the apostles who prayed and laid their hands o them.” (Acts 6:1-6)
The seven men chosen to assist the Twelve are not identified as deacons, but the verb “to wait on” (Greek – diakonein) comes from the same root as the noun (Greek – diakonos) translated into English as deacon. The selection of the seven grew out of the needs of the apostles in ministering to the congregation. The special responsibilities of the seven involved practical service.
Those chosen for this assignment had already demonstrated evidence of the working of he Spirit in their lives and ministry. Following the examples of these seven, deacons of today will see their responsibilities as serving with the pastor in ministering to the needs of the church congregation and in the community.
SECOND THOUGHT of the DAY:
“And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, hen workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles?” (1st Corinthians 12:28-29)
The teachers are the guardians and interpreters of he Christian tradition and give religious instruction o the converted. As Jesus taught those who responded to His preaching, so teachers are to explain the mysteries, nature, and principles of he Kingdom and to make clear the meaning of he Scriptures to the congregation.
They also instruct in the moral duties of he Christian life. An individual becomes a teacher only if the person has been endowed with the spiritual gift of teaching. “The teacher may have another office in the church such as overseer or pastor/priest.