Every Believer. Yes every.
The Gospel and the Holy Spirit is the possession of every member of the Church, thus the NT grants a certain qualified access for every member to the Church’s authority structure. This is evident in the following ways:
1). Every member has the “ministry” of reconciliation, 2 Cor 5:18. The Great Commission is the responsibility of every member of the Church.
2). “Ministry” belongs to every member, not leadership, Eph 4:11–12. Leaders prepare the saints for the “ministry.”
3). The church was responsible for the selection of its leaders in Acts 6:6; 14:23 (see side bar #2). The standards to which leaders must attain are tested by every member of the church, 1 Tim 3:1–7.; Titus 1:6–9. Even in the selection of the replacement for Judas, the nomination of the two candidates came from the gathered group of believers (Acts 1:15, 23).
4). Church discipline ultimately rests in the hands of every member of the church, Matt 18:15–17. Pastors and elders may lead in such matters, but the final word in discipline was given to the church. We also note the prominence of “you” (pl.) as in “you all” in the instructions Paul gives about a case of discipline in 1 Cor 5:2, 7, 12, and 13.
5). Every member is responsible for the church’s order and doctrine. “Examine everything carefully” (1 Thess 5:21) was not addressed to just the leaders in Thessalonica, but to the whole body. So also the command to “test the spirits” (1 John 4:1) was given to the entire church, not just the leaders. A negative expression of this is the churches of the last days that will “accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires” (2 Tim 4:3). The church’s teachers are accumulated by the church, not appointed by someone from outside the church.
6). Every member has a ministry of oversight, literally “bishopping,” (Gk, episkopountes) in the church, Heb 12:15.
7). Every member is called to some aspect of teaching the Word of Christ in the church, 1 Cor 14:26; Col 3:16 Heb 5:12.
8). Every member is called to the Church’s service identity, Eph 4:12. Although the Church’s diakonia to itself and the world is organized and overseen by the deacons as extensions of the elders, every member possesses the Church’s identity.
The Source of this ground-breaking gem? Mark R. Saucy