Something That Doesn’t Exist
by Ken Gardner

One time a member of the church where I preached referred to our congregation as “Kenny’s church.” Please—there is no such thing as “Kenny’s church.” It doesn’t exist. If it did exist, you wouldn’t want to be a member of it!

It seems many have a misunderstanding of the role of the preacher in the Lord’s church. Basically, he’s just a teacher. He doesn’t have any more say in the affairs of the congregation than anyone else. He’s subject to the oversight of the elders/shepherds/ pastors/overseers/bishops of the congregation just like every other member. The elders have the authority to hire him, and they have the authority to fire him. The elders have the right to oversee his work—to ask him to maintain certain office hours, or to spent so much time visiting, or door-knocking, or whatever else it is they want him to do. They could even insist he clean the church building, mow the lawn, prepare communion, or do any of dozens of other tasks. Of course, the preacher doesn’t have to agree to labor under these conditions, it’s a free country, and he can go preach for some other congregation if he likes. But the point is, he’s under the oversight of the elders. He’s subject to their authority. He is to obey them and submit to them, just like all other members of the congregation. He doesn’t “run” the congregation—they do. And he’s not the “pastor” of the congregation—the elders are. And he’s certainly not a “Reverend”—he’s not anymore reverend than anyone else. He’s just one of the “brethren”; in Matthew 23, as He was condemning the use of religious titles such as “Reverend” and “Father,” Jesus explained that we are “all brethren.”

So let’s avoid terms such as “Reverend,” “Pastor,” and “Kenny’s church.” It’s just not scriptural to use them.

I don’t think Willie wants to be called “Reverend” or “Pastor” either. Now, Galileo would like everyone to call him “Mr.” but I don’t know of anyone who does.