Ephesians 4:7 says, “But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.”  From this we see that each member of the body of Christ has a specific place for a specific work with a specific gift.  1 Corinthians 12:18 tells us, “But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.”  When someone puts their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, they are added to the church, which is the body of Christ. (Acts 2:47, Ephesians 1:22-23).  As members of the body of Christ, the Lord has given “every one of us” a gift or gifts to minister to others.

We have some of those gifts listed in Ephesians 4:11, “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers.”  Of these five gifts, we see that the gifts of apostles and prophets have ceased to exist.  Why do I say that?  Let’s read Ephesians 2:19-20, “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon THE FOUNDATION OF THE APOSTLES AND PROPHETS, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone.”  The Lord gifted the church with these apostles and New Testament prophets to lay the foundational truth of the household of God…the church or body of Christ.  Once a foundation is laid, we do not continue to lay foundations of top of it, rather we build upon that foundation.  We build upon that foundation with gifts such as evangelists, pastors, and teachers.  These gifts are still very much needed in our present day.  What do each of these gifts mean? 

EVANGELIST – The Greek word for evangelist is “euangelistḗs” and literally means a preacher of the Gospel.  The evangelist is one who is involved in spreading the Gospel to the lost.  Only one man in the Bible was actually called an evangelist.  We read in Acts 21:8, “And the next day we that were of Paul’s company departed, and came unto Caesarea: and we entered into the house of PHILIP THE EVANGELIST, which was one of the seven; and abode with him.”  While there are many with this important gift, all believers are exhorted to share the Gospel with the lost.  We are told in 2 Timothy 4:5, “But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, DO THE WORK OF AN EVANGELIST, make full proof of thy ministry.”  The Lord wants all those who are saved to be active in seeking out the lost to show them how they can be saved.

PASTOR – The Greek word for pastor is “poimḗn.”  It is used 18 times in the New Testament.  Only once is it translated as “pastor.”  Seventeen times it is translated as “shepherd.”  It is interesting to notice that it is never translated as “elder” or “bishop.”  That is a different work with a different function.  The shepherd or pastor is the one who helps keep the Lord’s people gathered in dependence around the Lord Jesus.  Christ is the “great shepherd” (Hebrews 13:4), and those who are gifted with the ability to shepherd the Lord’s flock will help keep them pointed towards the Lord Jesus Christ.

TEACHER – The Greek word for teacher is “didáskalos” and it simply means an instructor, a master, or teacher.  The Lord has given some the gift of being a teacher which means this person has a good ability to share the truth of God’s Word.

Notice that all three of these gifts have to do with giving out God’s Word, whether an evangelist, pastor, or teacher.  In order to have something to share with others, we must be active in learning God’s Word so that we can share His Word with others.  Even possessing a gift, if we are not studying God’s Word, we are empty vessels with nothing to offer.  Paul instructed Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:14, “Neglect not the gift that is in thee…”  Neither should we neglect or make light of the gift the Lord has given to each one of us as believers on the Lord Jesus Christ.  We must develop that gift so that we can serve the Lord more effectively.

Is the gift of pastor and of teacher the same thing?  The fact that they are mentioned separately is a strong indication that these two gifts are not identical.  It is certainly possible that someone might possess both gifts and both of these gifts can be very similar.  I have known very effective pastors who certainly had an ability to draw out the heart to Christ and feed others on Him, however, they did not have the ability to expound the deeper things of the Word of God. 

Before closing, I want to point out that the gift of a pastor is just that…a gift from the Lord.  It is not a career decision.  It is not a job title.  One who has been gifted to pastor the Lord’s people is able to use that gift wherever and whenever the Lord leads.  (CC)  (560.2)