April 1, 1991 Issue
by Jack Cuter

The most necessary and fundamental building block is the developing teacher. Every member is to study process of a congregation is the and prepare to the extent that they are "able to teach," 2 Tim 2:24 (NIV). While every member "is to be prepared to give an answer to everyone who ask---," 1 Peter 3:15 (NIV), this doesn't mean that everyone can be a public teacher, evangelist, preacher or elder. These ministering servants must all be faithful men, 2 Tim 2:2. Thus, excluding anyone other than men from serving in these capacities.

Furthermore, before preachers, evangelists and elders can perform on a ministering level commensurate to their developed skills, they by a natural growth process would of necessity have had to develop and train for expanded services by first serving as a teacher in a local congregation. In addition, local congregations cannot function and therefore exist without at least one faithful teacher being present who can lead the singing, offer prayers, teach and dispense the communion. It is, especially, critical for a congregation to have available one or more teachers capable of edifying the church, 1 Cor. 14; 1 Tim. 2. Therefore, this important building block is a vital key to the success or failure of any congregation.

It has been said, "Every institution is but the lengthened shadow of its leaders. Show me a congregation which is dynamic and growing, and I'll show you a leadership which is also growing. Show me a congregation which has merely been keeping house for the Lord, little changed for the past 10 years, and I'll show you a leadership which is stagnant and lifeless," (Leadership For Christ by Wilburn). For the most part, absent of elders and deacons, the teachers are these leaders. The above quote may describe the congregation which you're a member. If so, more than likely you leaders are not "active examples of what the church is all about." It could be that your teachers aren't really edifying the church. They are simply "speakers." Or, perhaps, they are discouraged and have given up because no one cared to encourage them. Or, on the other hand, although your teachers are very capable, they are lazy, indifferent or lukewarm. As a result, they lack the desire to step out of the pulpit and assist the members in determining their individual skill and to give them guidance and training in developing them. Whatever the situation may be where you attend, remember:  Your leaders are the lengthened shadow of that group.

A Warning to Teachers and Preachers

There is an art to public speaking. Those who have "mastered" it must utilize it with great caution. "Be not many masters (teachers) for they shall receive the greater condemnation," James 3.1-2. In this chapter the qualifications which set the teacher apart are first: wisdom,, and secondly, knowledge. It would probably be wise for us all to study this chapter carefully from time to time.

In the Absence of Elders and Deacons

Without a doubt, the teachers within a congregation are the predominate leaders. We know (as has been pointed out earlier) that a congregation cannot function without them. Biblically, the teachers are listed separately from the apostles, prophets, evangelists and elders, Eph 4:11. In examining the Scriptures, the first Gentile church established in Antioch of Syria was functioning with prophets and teachers when the Holy Spirit instructed them to "Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work which I have called them." "So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off." Acts 13:1-3 (NIV). While there isn't sufficient evidence to conclude that "teachers" should be ordained in an official sense, they without a doubt performed a "key" function within the church; and, were considered as a separate group from the individual members who have the responsibility to teach as they have opportunity.

In the November issue of the OPA, Bro. Bennie Cryer wrote an article concerning "business meetings." He first established that the majority rule system being used by many congregations is unscriptural. And, in some situations sin has resulted by the actions and attitudes of brethren involved. He suggested that the scriptural method, absent of elders and deacons, were for the qualified teachers to handle business matters. This without voting and with due consideration for all of the members. (Perhaps, it would help for you to read his article again as you study this one.)

The Responsibility of All to Teach

The importance placed upon each member teaching is emphasized by the writer of Hebrews. He severely rebukes, at least some of them, because at that point in their spiritual development they should have been teachers. However, they had so completely retrogressed that it was necessary for them to be completely retaught the basic and fundamental teachings of the Scriptures, Heb 5:11-14.

The Christian system is perfect. It was designed by God and given to mankind in the Bible. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the leadership of each congregation to have a clear and precise knowledge of it. Without which, its implementation would not be possible. Where the system has been implemented, spiritual growth and fruitfulness is manifested. However, where it hasn't been, it is marked by barrenness, unfruitfulness, and lifelessness. A key to overcoming this problem is in the training and development of qualified teachers in every congregation, 2 Tim 2:2.

This article is a sequel to the article that I wrote which was published in the January 1991 issue of OPA entitled The Work of an Evangelist. This article is to be followed by an article entitled The Perfecting Process and is to be published soon. It will reveal the growth process of individuals and congregations as each one develops toward maturity.

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Church Organization/Leaders

Jack Cutter
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