Last week, I was at the Evangelical Covenant Church’s Midwinter 2017 Conference. With fear and trembling, I was asked to teach on the topic of leadership in the New Testament, and I ended up preparing a message entitled: “Paul as Pastor.” It became a tougher topic to address than I thought because Paul does not really use the word “leader” in any of his letters.
The words for “leader” in Greek are ἄρχων (archōn) and ἡγούμενος (hēgoumenos), translated “rulers” and “leaders” in your Bibles, and refer to secular leadership but not church leaders, with the exception of Hebrews (13:7, 17, 24). Instead of the word “leader,” what Paul does is discuss various leadership roles or pastoral activities using other terms like:
I’ve arranged these 12 terms for pastoral leadership into 4 semantic domains or umbrella categories.
1) The Preacher
• minister / servant (Greek διάκονος or diakonos)
• preacher (Greek κηρύσσων or kēryssōn)
• evangelist (Greek εὐαγγελιστής or euangelistēs)
• teacher (Greek διδασκάλος or didaskalos):
2) The Pastor
• overseer (Greek ἐπίσκοπος or episkopos)
• elder (Greek πρεσβύτερος or presbyteros)
• mentor/imitation (Greek μιμητής or mimētēs) and spiritual father/mother (Greek πατήρ or patēr; μητήρ or mētēr)
• shepherd /pastor (Greek ποιμήν or poimēn) where through the Vulgate/patristic writers we get the Latin word pastor
• slave/servant of God and the church (Greek δοῦλος or doulos)
3) The Prophet
• prophet (Greek προφήτης or prophētēs)
x apostle? (Greek ἀπόστολος or apostolos): But apostleship was a unique office to the 1st century church alone.
4) The Priest
• priest or priestly minister/servant (Greek λειτουργός or leitourgos)
• administrator (Greek οἰκονόμος or oikonomos) of the mysteries/sacraments (Greek word μυστήριον or mystērion). μυστήριον is translated sacramentum in Latin
|Still the best work on a pastoral theology
available for the scholars, pastors and leaders
RIP Thomas Oden
Postscript: It pains me to blog so little (probably 1X a month) but until the ATS Accreditation report for North Park is complete, I’m swamped with work. The seminary needs its 10 yr accreditation so we can’t fumble the ball on this one. Likely I can blog much more regularly again when we reach the summer and end of the academic year. MJL