A Foundation of Biblical Ministry
"...the work of the ministry... for the edifying of the body of Christ" (Eph. 4:12).
The apostle Paul wrote to The Church of God at Ephesus, "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: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ" (Ephesians 4:11-15). Each of these roles of saint labor have their place within the plan of God to fulfill His divine purpose.
Throughout the Old Testament, many examples of leaders delivering messages from God in the form of preaching can be found. On numerous occasions, Moses brought a message from God to the Israelites. With the coming of the Law, however, worship was moved to the Temple with the offering of sacrifices by the priests rather than receiving a message from the Lord. Later in Israel's history, the prophets began to preach to the people concerning their need to return to the Lord. This new dimension into the work of God sounded the death knell to that dry, formalistic worship, wherein those who partook failed to have their hearts right with God. During the captivity, the ministers of the synagogue delivered messages as they read from the scrolls and gave a short exhortation. A drastic change came to pass in the New Testament, as John the Baptist stormed onto the stage of history to bring anointed sermons, never before presented. It is clear that God would be revealed to humanity in many ways over the centuries. Man saw Him through nature, wisdom, and other means. However, these heterogeneous paths of divine revelation were not God's final intent to complete the work started in the Garden of Eden. It would come through preaching. "Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe" (1 Corinthians 1:20, 21).
The Church of God recognizes the following licensed ranks of preaching ministry: Evangelist, Female Evangelist, Deacon, and Bishop.
"The Assembly advises...[also that]...certificate or license be conferred to un-ordained male ministers (evangelist)" (4th AM, 1909, p.33, QSC).
"It was decided that female ministers had their place in the Lord's vineyard in the days of the apostles and must be recognized in these days...The Assembly advises further that the women who engage in the ministry of the Word be acknowledged by the church and supplied with a certificate or license showing date of appointment and by what church" (4th AM, 1909, p. 33, QSC).
"...when the State/National Overseer feels that he has proven himself, he will recommend to the pastor that the local church may set him forth as a deacon..." (99th AM, 2004, p. 45 QSC)."We recommend ministers desiring the office and work of a bishop be involved in an active ministry and fulfill the requirements of 1 Timothy 3:1-7" (88th AM, 1993, p. 15, QSC).
The Church of God also acknowledges the following certified ranks of preaching ministry: Lay Minister and Trial Deacon."We recommend a certificate be prepared for the lay minister...or trial deacon, which will give him/her the recognition needed while gaining experience and making proof of his/her ministry" (104th AM, 2009, p. 111, QSC).
Ephesians 4:11 recognizes that the title and office of "teacher" is important enough to be included among the most respected ministerial titles. Many times, Jesus was referred to as a "teacher," because when He stood to speak, He spoke with clarity of wisdom and knowledge as one having authority. A God-called teacher is one who receives a calling directly from God. As with any divine call, a burden of responsibility for the tasks awakens generating a sense of humility and meekness. Another response to the call of God is a profound sense of urgency to please God, and an insatiable hunger and thirst to obtain a comprehensive knowledge of the Word of God.
The Church of God acknowledges the "Certified Teacher" as a biblical rank of teaching ministry."Also, we believe that the 'Teaching Ministry' in The Church of God is a vital part of the overall ministry to the Church. It is a part of "...apostles... prophets... evangelists... pastors... teachers..." who are to help bring the Body of Christ to perfection. It is based on these reasons of what the scripture has said that this committee believes that our 'Teaching Ministry' needs to receive the recognition as well as all the procedural requirements to becoming a 'Certified Teacher' in The Church of God" (99th AM, 2004, p. 40, QSC).
The Church of God also acknowledges that the "Lay Teacher" is a certified rank of teaching ministry."We recommend a certificate be prepared for the...lay teacher...which will give him/her the recognition needed while gaining experience and making proof of his/her ministry" (104th AM, 2009, p. 111, QSC).