Fellow pastor/preacher, we are a band of brothers, brought together by the grace of God. Ephesians 4 tells us that pastoral leadership is a gift of Christ’s grace to His church. The implications of this truth are far-reaching. One implication means that we as pastors are given to each other as gifts of God’s grace. We ought to look upon each other through the incredible truth that we are God’s gracious gift to each other. How we respond to each other indicates to what degree we are appropriating Christ’s grace for ourselves.
Low attendance at the preachers’ fellowship over the past two years has caused us to reconsider the purpose of our fellowship. Please do not misunderstand. Attendance at the fellowship is not a litmus test of our faithfulness to ministry. Yet, it does reveal what importance we place on mutual support and fellowship with other ministers of the Gospel.
Over the next several weeks, a series of articles will be published to clarify the purpose of our fellowship. The series will be drawn loosely from Acts 20.17-38. The passage records for us one of the first pastors’ fellowships in which Paul addressed the pastors in the city of Ephesus.
As the articles are published and read, let us set aside all of the “baggage” that comes laden with the term elders in our circles of influence. In no way should these articles be understood as an endorsement of the eldership structure of church government. Let us understand the word simply to refer to pastors.
With that in mind, the church at Ephesus most likely met at several different locations simultaneously, hence the need for multiple elders. Although we are not all in the same city, we are all in the same general locality. So, please understand that when references are made to the church, let us also avoid the other “baggage” that comes with the understanding of the universal church and the local church. The point is not to argue for or against one, or the other, or both. Let us understand the church in its most basic and tangible form: the local church. Similar to the Ephesian church and its pastors, we are brothers in Christ worshiping and serving in different churches in the same local geography.
Please read these articles as sincere encouragements to participate actively in the fellowship for the reasons that will be articulated. The reasons will be provided with the flow of the text, which provides for us the Divine order of importance.