I am passionate about what some Christians call the 5fold Ministry, and long for everyone within the body of Christ to all thrive being who Christ has called them to be (and also who he’s not called us to be!)I don’t know how in Christendom we have ended up with the idea of one Vicar-type that is somehow omni-competent, which is frankly unbiblical, I think God has made us interdependent by choice and design, we are made needing each other just as we are made needing God.Just read that fab bit in Corinthians about all being interdependent parts of the same body with each bringing something vital yet different to the mix to remember we are different instruments in Gods orchestra, with are differences complementing and harmonising with one another.Yet the bible also talks of five ministries which need to be recognized and embraced for the Church to thrive. You probably have elements of a couple of these, and may be more strongly one or another of these depending on context, circumstance and surroundings…Ephesians 4: 11 “So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers,12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up”Apostles.Evangelists.Prophets.Teachers.Pastors.Yet I think we often unhelpfully load these roles with baggage that I think they were never intended to have.Apostolic.Often mis-characterized as an ‘Alpha Male’ type character and I think there is nothing apostolic or Godly about vanity, bullying or domineering, often used as the label of the super-Christian, often from the God Channel, and often wearing a shiny suit and having their own airline… Which I think stops people exploring an apostolic anointing.Yet instead it is about being the visionaries, who see things not as they are but rather as they could be, discerning Gods will and way, a joining the dots up, big picture, it’s a focus on a better tomorrow. We need the Apostolic to stop us thinking we have made it, we have arrived and we are sorted, instead it is about continually pressing on to advance the Kingdom and release people in the anointing God had for them.Apostles keeps us looking forwards.Evangelist.Often mis-characterised as pastorally insensitive, and if heard people say “oh they’re an evangelist” as an excuse for being a loose canon and not being a team player, and more bizarrely not being a ‘people person’. Again, people have false images of evangelists bring primarily about preaching, of huge crowds hanging on their every word… Which I think stops people exploring an evangelistic anointing.Yet actually I think evangelist comes from love, love of Christ and his Kingdom and love of the lost who don’t know Christ. I’ve known evangelists who aren’t wonderful preachers but can gently and naturally talk and live out Christ in such a wonderful way that people are drawn to him. Evangelists remind us to keep looking outwards towards those who don’t yet know Christ.Evangelists keeps us looking outwards.Prophet.Again often wrongly characterized as either ‘the fruit loop’ -and I guess people like Ezekial were a bit eccentric- or the person who can’t be question, because if you disagree with “God us saying” you are disagreeing with God which isn’t something most of us want to do. Again its people misunderstanding the prophetic or using it for self-glorification that causes people to shy away from what God has called them to do.Yet prophets are I believe the child like friends who gently say the loving thing that needs saying, the helpful prompts which keep us as the body of Christ checking in that where we are going is where God wants us to be, again especially when perhaps when we need to let go of the good and stretch on for the great.The prophet keeps our eyes focused upwards (Godward).Pastors.Pastors, often mischaracterised as a big wet going around keeping everyone happy, “I don’t do conflict I’m a pastor”, often seen as a stroking people role, again it’s this mischaracterisation that I think puts people off exploring a pastoral anointing.Yet Pastors I believe should be the bravest people in our church, who love people in to being all that God wants them to be. It is the pastors that turn the broken into functioning members of the body of Christ, it is the Pastors that sort out the conflict in relationships, the peace-maker.We need Pastors to keep our internal workings of the Church healthy, a Church is only as strong as the spiritual health of its members. It’s Pastors that keep Churches healthy and enable people to thrive in their discipleship.Pastors keep us from individualism and instead keeps us looking out for our brothers and sisters.
Pastors keep us holding together in love.
TeachersTeachers, often overlooked, note it is slightly different from preaching, and I think people often don’t value this gift enough, it’s not so much mischaracterised as simply overlooked.A teacher, helps us understand more if God and how to apply this to our lives, it’s a vital role. It’s not always a standing at the front of church with a power-point slide, but, it is about gently moving people deeper into the things of God.Teachers keep us going deeper into Christ.So, which are you?Where is your heart?Perhaps too God is calling us to value the gifts, roles and functions of different Christians living out different callings. Perhaps today you could encourage someone else in their gifting and calling?
We need to remember that all that these roles are for building up the body of Christ, and these roles aren’t just for the key few “Super Christians” but all of us have strengths and gifts in some of these areas, and the expectation of Christ is that we will be using them to build up his body.