Why do some preachers believe that a man called of God should not be ordained until he is called to pastor a church? They also exclude evangelists from being ordained because they are not called to be pastors. Ephesians 4:11-12 clearly states that Evangelists are also placed in the ministry of God just like the others that are listed.
Ephesians 4:11, 12 says, “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.”
Titus 1:5 says, “For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ORDAIN ELDERS in every city, as I had appointed thee.” The term elder is not an office to which a man is elected or chosen, but a term which describes a man who is spiritually mature. The term was also used in the Old Testament, like in Numbers 11:16, 17, and is a strikingly similar situation to that of deacons in the New Testament. “And the LORD said unto Moses, Gather unto me seventy men of the elders of Israel, WHOM THOU KNOWEST TO BE THE ELDERS OF THE PEOPLE, and officers over them; and bring them unto the tabernacle of the congregation, that they may stand there with thee. And I will come down and talk with thee there: and I will take of the spirit which is upon thee, and will put it upon them; and they shall bear the burden of the people with thee, that thou bear it not thyself alone.” Moses felt that he needed some helpers, and so God told him to choose out 70 men that he KNEW to be ELDERS. It was not a position or office to which men had been elected, but simply a description of spiritually mature men. And from the spiritually mature men in the congregation, Moses was to choose 70 of them whom God would then spiritually empower to be his helpers.
In the New Testament, there also arose a need for helpers for the leaders — this time, the leaders of the church. Acts 6:1-6 says, “And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration. Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables. Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business. But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word. And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch: WHOM THEY SET BEFORE THE APOSTLES: AND WHEN THEY HAD PRAYED, THEY LAID THEIR HANDS ON THEM.” The laying on of hands is common terminology in reference to ordination. The phrase “look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business” is describing what elders are — spiritually mature men that are capable of fulfilling a position within the church.
When Titus 1:5 gives instructions to ordain elders in every city, it is referring to ordaining elders (spiritually mature men) to the positions of pastor and deacons. Notice in 1 Timothy 3:1-7, how all terms in relation to the bishop (meaning, overseer) or pastor (meaning shepherd) are singular; but all references to the deacons are plural, in 1 Timothy 3:8-13. “This is a true saying, If a MAN desire the office of a BISHOP, HE desireth a good work. A BISHOP then must be blameless, the HUSBAND of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; ONE that ruleth well HIS own house, having HIS children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a MAN know not how to rule HIS own house, how shall HE take care of the church of God?) Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride HE fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover HE must have a good report of them which are without; lest HE fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.” Now, notice the immediate change to everything being plural, in verses 8-13 dealing with the deacons:
“Likewise must the DEACONS be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre; Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience. And let THESE also first be proved; then let THEM use the office of a deacon, being found blameless. Even so must THEIR WIVES be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things. Let the DEACONS be the HUSBANDS of one wife, ruling THEIR children and THEIR own houses well. For THEY that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.”
The distinction is important, because many liberal pastors of our day teach the plurality of elders in the sense that a church is not a scriptural church, unless it has more than one pastor. 1 Timothy 3 shows that teaching to be in error. A scriptural, fully-functioning local church will have elders (spiritually mature men) from which can be chosen a pastor and some deacons, to lead and care for the flock. The scriptural teaching is that these elders, who are chosen to be pastor and deacons, are to then be ordained. These are the two offices of the local church (see 1 Timothy 3 again, and notice how both positions are referred to as offices).
If the first deacons were ordained (who were chosen to help in the daily ministration of feeding the widows), then there is no question as to whether evangelists should be ordained. It is very troubling that many churches are holding evangelists and missionaries to a lower standard when it comes to their testimony and moral record, and their marital status. A church I attended in my Bible College days had one of their pastors fall into immorality. They removed him from his position as one of the assistant pastors, but then gave their blessing upon him as an evangelist. How hypocritical and dangerous! As a traveling evangelist, he would be staying in many motels and homes of people, and away from his wife. If he fell into sin at his home church, and living every day with his wife; how much greater would be the temptation to sin when in a different city each week away from his wife? Deacons were chosen to help feed the widows, and God said they must be of the highest spiritual integrity. Are we to then allow evangelists and missionaries to be sent out who do not at least meet the same criteria as that of the deacons (which is the same for pastors)? No, we should not send out evangelists and missionaries unless they meet the same high standards. They should all be elders of the highest spiritual caliber.
Many churches and mission boards (mission boards are a man-made position which are doing the work that local churches should be doing for their own missionaries sent out of their churches; and because of it, the mission boards are taking on an authority over missionaries of which they have no scriptural right), are sending out missionaries who have been divorced and remarried. They think that because the missionaries are not serving in their homeland, that they are not held to as high as standards as a pastor. The Bible does not make a distinction between pastors and missionaries, because they do the exact same thing, only in different countries. Paul and Barnabas were what we would call today, missionaries. They were ordained and sent forth by the local church. Acts 13:1-4 says, “Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, SEPARATE ME BARNABAS AND SAUL for the work whereunto I have called them. And when they had fasted and prayed, and LAID THEIR HANDS ON THEM, they sent them away. So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus.” The missionaries were ordained, just like the pastors and deacons were ordained in the Bible.
Philip is called an evangelist, and we know that he was ordained when he was chosen to be a deacon (Acts 6:5). Acts 21:8 says, “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.” Pastors are also to do the work of evangelism. 2 Timothy 4:5 says, “But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, DO THE WORK OF AN EVANGELIST, make full proof of thy ministry.” Pastors and evangelists should be held to the same high standards, and should be examined as to their doctrines before being sent forth to do the work of the Lord.
Pastors, deacons, missionaries, and evangelists should all be ordained to fulfill their positions in the work of the ministry.