“He handed out gifts of apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor-teacher” (Ephesians 4:11 MSG)
The quote from Ephesians is taken from the Message Bible. When I was first introduced to this translation of the Bible is was not a fan. However, as I research many English translations to note subtle differences I saw that this Message verse more readily verified a suspicion I had about Paul’s intention for the pastor-teacher gift. That in fact it is considered one gift.
The gifts of apostle, prophet and evangelist are all listed and separated in other English translations by the words “and some.” This “and some” served as a means of separating the different gifts. The “and some” was not used between the words “pastor” and “teacher.” Therefore I suspected pastor and teacher to be a combined gift. The Message Bible verified this hunch of mine. The Message translation writes “pastor-teacher.” William Augustus Muhlenberg and Anne Ayers, whom we remember today, possessed such a gift.
“William Augustus Muhlenberg was born in Philadelphia in 1796, into a prominent German Lutheran family, and was drawn to The Episcopal Church by its use of English. …. He was deeply involved in the Sunday School movement, and was concerned that the Church should minister to all social groups.” (A Great Cloud of Witnesses April 8)
“Anne Ayres was born in London, England, in 1816, and immigrated to New York in 1836. She began work as a tutor for the children of wealthy New Yorkers, but soon came under the influence of Muhlenberg” (A Great Cloud of Witnesses April 8)
“The companionship in ministry between Muhlenberg and Ayres led to the founding of St. Luke’s Hospital in the City of New York, where Ayres and her sisters looked after most of the patient care and nursing. They also cooperated in establishing St. Johnland on the north shore of Long Island, an attempt to transplant families into an intentional utopia for poor inner-city people. ” …… Muhlenberg and Ayres died in 1877 and 1896, respectively.” (A Great Cloud of Witnesses April 8)
Muhlenberg and Ayres exemplified the pastor-teacher gift that God so graciously gave them. They both cared for and taught in their communities and made time to tutor young ones in school as well as minister to the hospitalized. “Ayres helped Muhlenberg found St. Johnland, in King’s Park, Long Island, which was intended to be a rural utopia for poor inner-city people.” (A Great Cloud of Witnesses April 8)
Many of us are called to be pastor-teachers. One does not have to be ordained to do this work. We just need to hear God’s call on our lives and recognize this very important gift of ministry.
Let us hear what the Spirit is saying through and to the people of the Creating Word and then let us “Ponder anew what the Almighty is doing.” John Thomas Frazier Sr.