A series of essays exploring what the church, considering its ongoing reformation begun 500 years ago, will look like in the next decade and beyond: A futurist’s snapshot of the Christian Church.
As I have said in my recent essays, in the Reforming Church there are four offices. They are the Office of Deacon, the Office of Teacher, the Office of Evangelist, and the Office of Elder. Together, these four offices order and guide the Reforming Church in the way of Jesus.
In the Reforming Church, those who are called to the Office of Teacher set the course for the congregation. In a nutshell, the teachers in a congregation are preparing and equipping the Followers of the Way to serve in the way of Jesus.
The teachers steep the congregation in the prophetic call “to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God” (NRSV, Micah 6:8b), the very tradition in which Jesus was steeped as a Jewish rabbi. And which also is the backbone of the way of Jesus. In his inaugural sermon in the little hamlet of Nazareth, where he was raised, Jesus read from the prophet Isaiah 61:1,2 declaring,
“‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.’
“Then he began to say to them, ‘Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing’” (NRSV, Luke 4:18-19, 21).
Those who are called to serve in the Office of Teacher are called to prepare the congregation for its pastoral responsibilities. In this regard, the Office of Teacher is tasked especially with equipping those preparing for the Office of Deacon. Those who teach are also to guide those preparing to serve as Teachers, Evangelists, and Elders.
Next week, I will describe the responsibilities of the Office of Evangelist.