There is no small amount of debate about this seemingly simple and straightforward question. Various books, articles, and conferences have been dedicated to answering it in light of our modern context. However, among the chatter, curiosity and creativity surrounding this question, we have biblical clarity. Since it is God’s church he has the right to speak to how it is to be led. Thankfully he has clearly done so in the Scriptures.
In one remarkably concise passage we read that shepherds are to give themselves to the Word and to prayer (Acts 6:4). This is type of simplicity is very helpful.
But if you were to take the New Testament and what it says about pastors, what general categories would you deploy?
At Emmaus we have broken this down into three categories: Leading, Feeding, and Shepherding. We believe it is not only important that the pastors know what they are supposed to be doing but that the members also are informed and come to expect the biblical pattern to be fulfilled.
The following is from our constitution, which lays ahold of the pastoral priority:
The oversight, government, and direction of the church, under the headship of Jesus Christ, shall be exercised by the Elders of Emmaus Bible Church. Their authority as Elders is derived from the order established in Scripture (Titus 1:5-9; Acts 14:23; 20:28; 1 Timothy 3:1-7; 5:17).
The Elders shall lead the congregation without compulsion, but with loving willingness, as examples to the church. Biblical authority must be exercised with care exhibiting the gospel-centered, servant-leadership of Christ as a shepherd cares for the sheep (1 Peter 5:1-4).
The Elders shall oversee the teaching of the Word of God, the administration of ordinances (baptism and communion), biblical instruction and exhortation, and protection against false teachers (I Thessalonians 5:12; II Timothy 4:2; John 21:15- 17).
It shall be the duty of the Elders to care for the church in its spiritual condition, to guard the purity of doctrine and life of the church, and to oversee the discipline of the church in accordance with the Word of God (Acts 20:28).