Sunday, July 23, 2006

Together on a Mission CD Recommendation!

I have been listening to John Hosier's seminar; "The Church Needs Pastors and Teachers". Terry Virgo said at the end of Rob Rufus's Training Tracks that the entire range of seminars had been one veritable feast of wealth and he wasn't wrong! This seminar is extremely interesting, stimulating, motivating and touches on much of what I was considering some time ago - in terms of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. For those who are not familiar with John Hosier, he is a recognised teacher based at Church of Christ the King in Brighton and travels quite widely.

John began the seminar by talking of his dislike for the term; "Ephesians 4 Ministries". I found this particularly interesting because as I noted in my post, I had spotted this in his excellent book; "Christ's Radiant Church". In the seminar he went on to explain why. He was concerned that naming someone as an "Ephesians 4 Teacher" or "Ephesians 4 Ministry" set them up on a pedestal that the New Testament simply didn't give them. ALL leadership gifts are from the ascended Christ and should be seen and received as such.

I was glad that he spent his introduction dealing with some technical aspects of all the ministries before moving onto talking about his subject - that of pastors and teachers. He noted that all of the ministries mentioned can be on eldership teams leading churches. An elder can be an apostle. An elder can be a prophet. An elder can be an evangelist and an elder can obviously be a pastor and teacher. He then went on to recognise that each eldership team of course needed a team leader. However a church may be affected in different ways depending on what ministry the team leader is. For example if the team leader is an apostle, the church may tend to become neglected after a while because the apostle is looking to the horizons. If the team leader is a prophet, the danger is that the church may blow up (Hosier's words!) from the revelation that the prophet brings. If the team leader is an evangelist, the church may become worn out from constantly being exhorted to seek the lost. And if the leader is a pastor/teacher, the church may become too inward looking.

That being said, he then moved on to to look at the desperate need for pastors and teachers. A lot of what he said fitted in with the two posts I wrote on the pastor/teacher. The first post I wrote argued that it was the pastor/teachers who caused the flow of the Charismatic Movement to stall after the heights of the Dales Bible Weeks 1976-77. The second post argued that the pastor/teachers are most in danger of stagnation as their ministry are local and not as mobile. The solution I suggested was to ensure they are constantly making way for younger men.

Both Ern Baxter and Terry Virgo had visions that confirmed very much the need for this to happen. Ern said; "I thought of a number of men who were apostolic and prophetic in their ministries who were sitting on top of church works (some of which were sizable) and were really keeping eldership from emerging. And they needed to come off the top of those things and do their apostolic/prophetic/ evangelistic work - because those ministries are mobile". Terry Virgo received a prophecy from Robyn Lowe when he was considering a wider work that said; "You will not be forsaking them by going forward, rather you will be helping, as it is important that you clear more ground so that in turn, all can move forward".

The obvious first question he dealt with is - are the two names one ministry or two seperate? John felt that they are two aspects to one ministry. This seemed to make very good sense to me. In experience I would have always argued that I have seen the ministry as very much seperate. I grew up under an outstanding teacher of God's Word, who was succeeded by a pastor. In Birmingham I again benefited from a teacher who did not strike one as a pastor. Then in Bristol, I consider myself very blessed to finally be in a church lead by a team of elders with many different giftings and ministries. Nick, the lead elder is a very gifted prophet as well as being an awesome teacher.

John Hosier then moved on to consider three different "styles" of being a pastor/teacher. I again found this very helpful because it served to explain what I have seen but never quite understood in my church experience. They were as follows:

1. A Discipleship/Empowering Style. This is reflected by Richard Baxter - author of the "Reformed Pastor". Hosier gave an interesting quote from the book where Richard Baxter argued that the Gospel is preached most effectively - NOT from a pulpit - but in individual people's homes in pastoral situations. I know a few churches who wouldn't agree with that style whatsoever! But I found it very worthy of a hearing.

2. Strong Teaching Style. Others argue that pastoring is most effectively given through the strong teaching of the Word of God and do not give much room to one-to-one counselling.

3. Available Style. This style mirrors that of the strong teaching ministry but they will make themselves available should anyone wish to speak with them, but they will by and large concentrate on the preaching of the Word. Hosier quoted Jonathan Edwards and Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones as most reflective of this. I would add my formative pastor Dr Stanley Jebb in this category.

I will continue this when I have finished the CD! But the material John Hosier has covered so far was absolutely excellent and I do highly recommend it along with his book "Christ's Radiant Church".

Go buy it now!

1 comment:

Mark Heath said...

You beat me to it! I have prepared but not yet posted a post on this sermon. It was awesome. Highly recommended