Beyond the Pulpit: Two Ways Ordinary Believers Minister to the Church -- By: Timothy R. Nichols
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Beyond the Pulpit:
Two Ways Ordinary Believers Minister to the Church
Timothy R. Nichols received his most significant biblical education from his father, Rev. Edd Nichols. He went on to spend three years at Florida Bible College, and completed his B.S. at Southeastern Bible College in 1997. After a brief interlude, Tim continued his education at Chafer Theological Seminary, graduating with a Th.M. in 2004. Tim presently ministers as an assistant pastor at Grace Chapel in Orange, CA, and as an instructor at Chafer Theological Seminary. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
The public teaching of Scripture from the pulpit is vital to the spiritual health of the church. But Christians frequently forget that the object of the pulpit ministry is not merely to minister to the hearers, but to prepare the hearers to minister to each other. Ephesians 4:11–16 clearly states that pastors and teachers equip the saints for the work of the ministry. But how do the members of the body minister to one another? This paper presents two vital concepts for Christian ministry that believers frequently disregard in doctrine and practice. Few people in the pew know these concepts. Those who have heard them before are usually unaware that they have a biblical basis, and few have any model they can look up to as an example of how to apply them. Fewer still have someone training them to develop skill in applying these truths.
Encouragement in Hebrews
The first of these concepts has to do with fellowship and comes from the book of Hebrews. The author, audience, and purpose of Hebrews have all been hotly contested, so a few words about the larger context of the book are in order.
The author’s identity is unknown, although he states that he had no first-hand experience of Christ. He and his audience were second-generation believers: they relied on the accounts of those who had been with Jesus Himself.1 From the extensive references to the Tabernacle service, it appears that they were Jewish and had familiarity with the Law. They were believers.2 They were eternally secure, not only because
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all believers are, but because the book itself treats them as such.3 The occasion of the letter is a state of spiritual decline among the audience. They had initially been faithful4 and in certain respects remained faithful,You must have a subscription and be logged in to read the entire article.
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