In order to fully appreciate the pastoral ministry of Shepherd's Fellowship, it is important for us to first look at what the New Testament itself says about the ministry of pastors/elders/overseers. First, we will provide a brief explanation of the different biblical words used to refer to the pastoral office and then show that the standard for the pastorate is plural, is equal, has diversity, and should manifest leadership amongst equals. Secondly, we will provide a bio of each of our pastors so that you can gain familiarity with their background and their passion for the gospel ministry.
I. The Different Biblical Terms used for the New Testament Pastorate:
The pastors of the local church of the NT were commonly referred to by three different terms to refer to this one office:
A. "Elder" - Greek word - "presbuteros" -
This term was primarily a word that related well to Hebrew Christians and was the word used as the church began and developed. This word emphasizes who the man is: character and maturity.
B. "Overseer" - Greek word - "episkopos" -
This term refers primarily to what the man does (Function). He is a spiritual overseer of the congregation.
C. "Pastor/Shepherd" - Greek word - "poimen" -
This term refers to the nuturing role of the office (Heart attitude). He is to nuture, feed, and protect the flock.
These three Greek words are used interchangeably in 1 Tim. 3:1-7; Tit. 1:5-9 and 1 Pet. 5:1-4 to refer to the one office of pastor-shepherd/elder/overseer.
II. The Plurality of Pastors/Elders/Overseers:
We see that the New Testament teaches that each local church had a plurality of elders as the norm (Acts 14:23; 20:17; 20:28; Phil. 1:1; Jas. 5:14; 1 Thess. 5:12; Heb. 13:17). Thus, God has designed the church to function under the government and leadership of a plurality of qualified men.
III. The Equality of Pastors/Elders/Overseers:
All who are set apart for the office of Elder have equality. There is no hint of more authority for some elders over other elders. No one elder or group of elders is to have more "say so" than another. There is no formal authority structure or hierarchy within the body of elders. However, this does not mean that all will be equally gifted. There should be a diversity in the eldership.
IV. The Diversity of Pastors/Elders/Overseers:
Equality does not mean that all elders are equal in gifts and spiritual influence. It does not mean that each elder must spend equal time behind the pulpit. It means that each man set apart for the eldership occupies one and the same office. There will be great diversity within the eldership. One elder may be better suited to preach publicly, another to one-on-one teaching, another to a small group teaching situation, another to administration, etc. All elders must be apt to teach (1 Tim. 3:2; Tit. 1:9) and must feed, guard, and care for the spiritual needs of the flock.
V. Leadership among Pastors/Elders/Overseers:
The equality of elders does not rule out the recognition of a leader among leaders (i.e., Pastor-Teacher). The 12 disciples are an example of this. They were all apostles and equal in office and authority. Yet there emerged leaders among leaders. Peter and Paul were key leaders among the apostles. Peter was called the apostle to the Jews and Paul the apostle to the Gentiles. However, there was also accountability. Leadership requires accountability. Thus, the New Testament presents a situation where each individual local church had a plurality of qualified pastors who had equal authority but differing gifts. Now, you have the opportunity to read a short description of the ministry and passion of our pastors.
Jeffrey N. Burns
Jeff is married to his best friend, Lisa, and together they have five children, Jack, Jedidiah, Molly, and Josiah, and James who has gone to be with the Lord. He is a native of the Greensboro area, having grown up in Jamestown and graduated from Wesleyan Christian Academy in High Point.
Although raised in a Christian family and attending church all his life, he was not converted until late in high school. As a senior, Jeff was providentially directed to study the Bible with hopes to one day teach New Testament in an academic setting. With this goal in view, Jeff earned his degree in Christian Studies from North Greenville University in Tigerville, SC. However, during his time at NGU, he became convinced of the particular importance of the local church and began to pursue the pastorate.
In the spring of 2011, Jeff and Lisa moved back to Greensboro in order to serve the body of Shepherd's Fellowship. Jeff was ordained as an elder and appointed a teaching pastor on April 29, 2012. His greatest desire is to see the saints edified and sinners brought to faith and repentance through clear and simple preaching of God's Word, all under the authority of the local church.