The New Testament distinguishes between preaching and teaching. Preaching is the proclamation of the Messiahship of Jesus, as revealed in his ministry, death, and resurrection. Preaching, therefore, occurs not in the worship of believers but in the public forum. The worship assembly is the setting for instruction in the faith and exposition of the Word of God. Although the sermon or homily of today may be a presentation of the gospel and an appeal for commitment to Christ, it had its origin as a part of worship in the teaching activity, rather than the public preaching, of the New Testament church.
In the formative years of the church its ministry exhibited amazing variety and adaptability. Emerging at Pentecost as a Jewish sect, the church naturally modeled its ministry in part on patterns borrowed from the synagogue. But the Spirit of Christ also fashioned new functions and channels of ministry through which the grace of God might be communicated. The principal “orders” of ministry that arose were those of the elder (bishop) and the deacon.