“Which of the five-fold ministries are you?” I was asked this morning at morning prayer.
The Five Fold Ministries, are “Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor and Teachers”, it is a fascinating question!
Are we all just one of these?
Can we be more than one or is that greedy?
Do I operate in all five on different occasions?
Or is that just vanity thinking I could be omni-competent?
Then I thought a bit more about each of these and think these words can mean vastly different things to different people?
I’ve blogged before about how I worry that I see too much of Christian leadership lacks humility and has a smugly superior swagger, something I don’t see in the ‘first shall be last’ Leadership, often looking more like Alan Sugars boardroom than Jesus washing his disciples’ feet in the upper-room.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the phrase “hurt people hurt people” which is true we are all broken people and often our brokenness has jagged edges that cuts both ourselves and those who come close to the area of that brokenness.
Yet too often our brokenness doesn’t just manifest itself in sitting on our own in a coffee bar crying into our latte, but in all sorts of behaviours.
I was talking to someone who said something fascinating “I don’t think I am arrogant, but I know I am deeply insecure”, but the insecurity often shows itself in massively competitive ways.
We often forget that a wise person once said “comparison is the thief of joy” and yet particularly the apostle, prophet and evangelist can end up engaging is a silly one-upmanship, which actually discourages all of them, talking themselves up and others down, because they want to appear successful.
Yet as Mother Teresa said “we aren’t called to be successful only faithful”.
It is a bit like running a race, if you can’t run forward when looking back.
The Pastor often can be guilty of ‘needing to be needed’ they need me, the danger to run in as a ‘Saviour leader’ where we want to come in like James Bond and save the day, forgetting that we already have a Saviour that doesn’t need replacing. The danger is for those of us with a Pastors heart is that we can fall into the trap of thinking “I’m important because I’m needed” rather than knowing we are valuable simply by being a beloved child of God.
Again, the teacher is often guilty of the same ‘needing to be needed’, yet like all teachers the kids graduate, they want to not just know about stuff they actually want to be doing it themselves. The teacher can fall into the trap of thinking “I’m important because I know stuff you don’t” and yet it often is a matter of time when they over-take us and they know stuff we don’t and suddenly our roles become reversed and we become the pupil.
If you are the Apostolic type, how do you react when someone else has a better and an easier idea?
If you are the evangelistic type, how do you feel when someone else discovers their gift and has great chats about Jesus.
If you are prophetic, how do you feel when someone else has a ‘spot on word for someone’.
If you are a Pastor, how do you feel when someone goes to someone else and not you?
If you Teacher, how do you feel when your pupil teaches you something?
The interesting thing I think is what we ‘ought’ to feel and what we ‘actually’ feel can be two very different things.
Often our insecurity ties us down and limits both our gifting and our effectiveness and fruitfulness in that gifting.
The heart I believe of ‘losing the testosterone’ is knowing our true identity in Christ, knowing our dependence not on our abilities but on his provision and grace, knowing that we are unique and our calling is different from those around us.
It is about an understanding of being part of God’s team and about building a Kingdom not our own empires, it is about Christ at work in us not just through us.
Let’s see ourselves as precious and part of the wider team of God, where our gifts and our weakness combine together with other peoples’ gifts and weaknesses to create something beautiful.
The heart of much of our problem is our self-sufficiency, this idea that ‘we can do it on our own’ which is actually not only unbiblical but a complete fallacy.
We need one another, and they need us, we are not created for independence but interdependence.
The question actually at its heart is asking about how we can work together where we maximise our strengths and minimise the weaknesses so that we can see the most fruitfulness of the glory of Christ in the lives of those we serve.