I was recently let go from a temporary job I had putting together a very impressive robotic conveyor system at a new Target Distribution Center in the area. Since it was temporary - I was thrown in with all kinds of men who needed work and income to sustain their lives/families.
As I got to know them through the work involved (heavy pieces of equipment that needed cautious handling as they were assembled), I was able to learn about their place and journey in life.
Len (not his real name) was probably a few years older than me (pushing 60?), but he looked to be in his 70s. He had this prospector look - short, protruding jaw, which was enhanced by his rapid gum-chewing habit, and wiry. He was well-seasoned in the area of general labor and I found him to be a major resource in helping me learn the techniques of going about the duty given us.
One morning (each day started at 6 am and ended at 4:30 pm) as we were working, I made a passing comment about the irony of my extensive education landing me in a $9 per hour situation. "8 years of school for this..." He replied: "Well, I went to 9." Naively, I asked, "You have a graduate degree?" "No - I only got through 9th grade."
At the time I smugly thought - "He doesn't know who I am and what I am and where I've been...BLAH BLAH BLAH!"
As the job continued over the weeks, I looked to him as a major leader - a shepherd. Others facetiously called him "boss-man" because of his expertise. I learned to have a deep Godly love for him and learned that he was a Follower. We had some great conversations about our mutual walks in obedience to Christ. I met others as well who loved God - two of them ex-convicts and one a recovering alcoholic. My spiritual growth jettisoned through this community. I would have never sought this out by structural design.The giftedness of others was functioning on a daily basis - almost like the early church.
The word is used in the plural. It is pastors. This is significant. For whoever these "pastors" are, they are plural in the church, not singular. Consequently, there is no biblical support for the practice of sola pastora (single pastor).Is there a possible correlation in the history of God's people between what happened when Israel requested a king and the second century of the church? It seems that both were under the direct headship of God/Christ functioning by humble obedience with humble leaders until form was lofted above function.
The Greek word translated pastors is poimen. It means shepherds. (Pastor is the Latin word for shepherd.) Pastor, then, is a metaphor to describe a particular function in the church. It is not an office or a title.
...With the Fall came in implicit desire in people to have a physical leader to bring them to God. For this reason, human societies throughout history have consistently created a special caste of revered religious leaders. The medicine man, the shaman, the rhapsodist, the miracle worker, the witch doctor, the soothsayer, the wise man, and the priest have all been with us since Adam's blunder. And this person is always marked by special training, special garb, a special vocabulary, and a special way of life...
...Up until the second century, the church had no official leadership. That it had leaders is without dispute. But leadership was unofficial in the sense that there were no religious "offices" or sociological slots to fill.
Human hierarchy and "official" ministry institutionalized the church of Jesus Christ. By the fourth century, these elements hardened the arteries of the once living, breathing ekklasia of God - within which ministry was functional, Spirit-led, organic, and shared by all believers.This is an appropriate nutshell statement to end the excerpt. I could easily copy more, but that would deprive you of doing what I think you should do in purchasing and reading yourself.