Two seemingly opposed facts characterize my life as a member of Christ’s Body:

  • I am called by God to be a functioning member of an institutional church.
  • I am drawn to and hope to one day plant a house church/city church.

Why not leave?

To this I merely answer that the Head of the Church has called me to this place.  This answer is sufficient.

But another answer emerges, if we transform the question a bit:

For what purpose do I remain in this church?

  • I remain to embody bold opposition that is focused on key issues.  Participating in gatherings puts me in a place to instigate paradigm shift that honors the history of this people while calling for needed change.
  • I remain to embody respectful opposition that works alongside brothers and sisters, considering the other as more important than self.  Working in the system, developing information and feedback flows, allows me to encourage needed change, while appropriately honoring the legacy of the Spirit’s work in this place.
  • I remain to embody loyal opposition that shows up and honors the good.  Following the call to leadership outside the professional structure of the institutional church puts me in a position to highlight good traditions, tell legacy stories, and publicly recognize needed changes when they occur.

Am I doing all this?

Not yet, but I hold it before my eyes and before the eyes of my fellows.  Distractions (internal and external) occur and resistance (mostly passive) happens, but the call remains, so here I stay.

Why do you “go to church”?

Among the Loyal Dissatisfied (on Laura’s Writings)
Being the Loyal Opposition in the Institutional Church
Why Go To Church? on Origins Project


The image [of the shepherd in Ephesians 4:11] is vague; its OT and pre-OT usage would suggest that primary emphasis would lie on shepherds as those who led…, provided and protected those in their care.


  • leading: This is an obvious statement, but leading requires that the shepherd first go where he wants the flock to go. A second and equally important requirement is that the flock must know the shepherd and must find his leadership trustworthy.
  • providing: The largest portion of this task is getting food and sheep together. Actually feeding the sheep is unnecessary, except for the young and the sick. if the sheep are not feeding themselves, something is horribly wrong with the flock.
  • protecting: The flock lives in constant danger of illness, attack, or foolishness. The shepherd protects the flock by seeing to its general health, by fighting off enemies, and by caring for the injured and sick.


  • How much, if any, of this metaphor carries over into eternity?
  • Either way, what is the significance for how we behave now?


The Five-Fold Ministry and the Birth of New Movements
Christian Unity (Ephesians 4:1-16)

Biblical Input

1) presbuteros (“elder”), episkopos (“bishop, overseer”)
qualifications–1 Tim 3:1-7; 5:17-19; Tit 1:5-9
tasks (narrative)–Acts 20:17-38

2) diakonos (minister)
qualifications–1 Tim 3:8-13
tasks (narrative)–Acts 6

3) APEPT as gifts to the ekklesia
Eph 4:11-14

4) Olders and Youngers
1 Tim 5:1-16; Tit 2:2-8


  • Are 1 and 2 offices?
  • What is the relationship of 3 to 1 and 2?
  • How are each of these and all of these related to the local church?

Related Posts
beginning questions

This post is subject to change without notice.

Despite, or maybe due to, the class I took last fall, many questions remain. I have opinions on each of these questions and I even have biblical answers for some. Others remain uninvestigated or overly tinged by presupposition. So, poked in among the thesis, the Doctrine of the Kingdom, teaching (here, here, and here), and too little sleep, I shall be pondering these and other pesky gender-leadership-ecclesiology topics.

  • Can a woman be a senior pastor?
  • For that matter, NT-speaking, can anyone (except you-know-who) be the Senior Pastor?
  • Does the “office” of Pastor even exist?
  • Can a woman be an elder?
  • Can a single man with no children be an elder?
  • Are elders pastors or something else or what?
  • Can a woman be a deacon?
  • What are deacons and how are they different from elders (assuming they are different)?

Each of these questions stirs opinions, and often much heat. Opinions are welcome. Heat is not. If you comment, be on topic, be fair, and don’t preach (if you want to preach, post on your own blog and leave a link).