5 Fold Ministry -Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers (Eph. 5), Anger, Boldness, Bravery, Courage, Ephesians 6, Leadership, love, Pastor, prayer, Protest, shepherd, Spiritual Warfare

The Angry Pastor Prays.

we often have this idea of being pastoral as being weak, wet and woolly.

Interestingly people often seem to pride themselves on being rude and obnoxious and try to justify their behaviour by saying “I’m not pastoral, I’m prophetic/evangelistic/apostolic”…

Yet I think this show not only a misunderstanding of the role of the prophet, evangelist and apostle, but also an acute misunderstanding of the role of the pastor.

The word Pastor or Shepherd are often inter-changeable.

It is easy to think of the Shepherd as gently nurturing sheep on some idyllic hillside somewhere nice and peaceful. Yet the reality is more of a challenge, sheep are easy prey, the shepherd has to fight of robbers, wolves, lions and bears.

There is nothing wimpy about the shepherds in Biblical times, it was a tough and often bloody role, killing of wolves and scaring away predatory beasts.

It is a costly role. Jesus himself said “the good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep”. Many of us in Pastoral ministry may not have been killed but we certainly have had to cope with some incredible spitefulness.

Yet sheep are not particularly grateful, in fact sheep need saving from themselves most of the time, often getting themselves lost, stuck on hillsides and sometimes -especially the rams- they can be violent towards the shepherds too.

There is a picture of Jonny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow running from a group of wild people armed with spears and the caption says “Be a Pastor they said, it’ll be fun they said”.

The shepherd has to preserve the sheep, protecting them from the dangers outside and the dangers inside. A thankless task. A task that requires us to be pro-active. A task that calls for courage and bravery.

So, as we re-think this role of Pastor as not being weak and wishy washy, but a person of action, going where angels fear to tread, “someone fighting for you and for your spiritual growth”.

In fact much of the imagery around the Christian life is that of battle and warfare.

Even images such as God shielding us under the shadow of his wing, are actually more violent than we like to think, just think of how protective of her young a swan or wild goose is? Yes, it’s an image of shelter, but it is also an image of protection against all that can wage against us.

I want to think for a second about our emotions, so often we are so British that we think of the only emotions that are healthy in the Christian life is a serene gentleness.

Yet I would suggest that one of the most pastoral acts we see Jesus doing is throwing the tax collectors and the money changers out of the temple, he’s angry.

I5 is right to be angry at injustice, at wrong behaviour within the Christian family. Scripture doesn’t prohibit anger but rather it says “in your anger do not sin”.

It is not fashionable to talk any more about the wrath of God, but I don’t believe that God is impassive and emotionless about the horrors that are carried out in his world, and sometimes in his Church. God’s anger is righteous, but it is still anger none the less.

And lastly let’s think about “angry prayers” -the Psalms is full of them (and many written by a shepherd). It is right and proper to be honest with God about how we are feeling, and if we feel angry at something it is good to tell him.

Often in the west, especially in the Anglican church, our prayers can be a bit placid and bland, but perhaps we can pray with a passion knowing that God loves us and wants to hear our hearts.

In fact if we are angry because of our zeal and fire for the things of God.

Our prayers too can be warfare, can be violent -scripture uses the image of destruction- tearing down strong-holds, standing firm in the full armour of God… Yet the opposition too sounds fierce and scary “your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour”.

Our prayers are powerful and offensive to the “powers and principalities of this world”, as an old adage goes “Satan scoffs at our plans, laughs at our schemes but trembles when we pray”.

Martin Luther talks about grasping our hands in prayer as an act of warfare on all that is evil or destructive. In the book of Zechariah, we hear of the Devil being rebuked “the Lord says NO to you Satan”.

Prayer is a defiant action.

The Angry Pastor prays for brothels to close and people to be set free, for drug dealers to cease trading, for violence to cease, for gossip to stop, for relationships to be healthy and for the Kingdom to advance.

The prayer of a righteous person accomplishes much.

Scripture warms us we have not because we ask not, so let’s take the ground and ask for more and more of the Kingdom to become here on earth as the gospel is proclaimed and lives are transformed.

The angry pastor does battle on her knees, fighting in the heavenly realm, fighting for less of sin, the world and the devil to have influence and control over those whom we love and serve.

So, let’s reclaim biblical pastoring to look like that of Christ the good shepherd, bold and brave, fighting for us, our defender -seeking our welfare, but prepared to even save us from ourselves. The person of courage and boldness, but motivated by love -love for the person and love for the Shepherd King and his Kingdom.

5 Fold Ministry -Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers (Eph. 5), Humility, identity, Isaiah 6, Pioneer, Pride

Words, Language and Titles…

A week ago I was at a really thought provoking meeting at the Diocese thinking about pioneer ministry.

Yet the thing that struck me  is the language, words, names and labels we use actually acts can be really unhelpful.

Gideon was called by the angel as a “Mighty Warrior” and didn’t see himself as Israels military leader after-all “I am the least in my family and my family is the least in Manasah”… Yet Gideon was a Mighty Warrior as he step out in faith (after a fair bit of encouragement from God) he stepped into the Identity that God had called him to, the gifts, skills and talents that lay within him, unseen and unrecognised.

Some of us at times can be a little like Gideon struggle with self doubt, and doubting of our calling, or other times we have our own ideas and expectations of ourselves. A type of false humility can easily exist and we can mistakenly think as virtuous but actually keeps us from becoming all that God wants us to be.

I wonder how many pioneers -or perhaps apostles, evangelists, teachers and prophets exist within our Church but would rule themselves out, or not be confident in embracing who they are before God?

I wonder too how many pioneers, -or perhaps apostles, evangelists, teachers and prophets exist within our Churches  but the Church communities sadly often don’t realised, acknowledged and embrace these gifts… (I think those with a pastoral gift most churches are reasonable at recognising, but often sadly many are less good at recognising the other characteristics).

Intestestingly both Isaiah (Is.6) and Jeremiah (Jer.1), both prophets who really needed Gods help to find their voice, Isaiah even has a vision of a cereph touching his lips with a burning coal… I wonder how many of us need Gods help to find our voice, especially our prophetic voice? Often the prophetic feels scary, we say things that other people don’t alwyas “get” or “understand”, sometimes to give a prophetic word takes a lot of courage of bravery.

Yet sometimes labels aren’t always helpful, one of my friends who was  evangelist, was told he was a good evangelist and for a few weeks went tactlessly crashing into conversations bible bashing in the most to-curling way imaginable, a million miles away from the normal  conversations he had been having. Sometimes Gods call on our lives can get limited when our egoes get over-inflated “pride coming before a fall”.

I don’t think these gifts, calling and ministries were meant to be given so that we can strut around like peacocks, and I’ve blogged before at how uncomfortable I am when perhaps there is too little walking deeply with the spirit and too much ego and testosterone flying around. The Growing Leaders Course sas “Charisma and Competence without Character creates Catastraphy”. A verse that don’t quote often enough but occurs repeatedly in scripture is “God opposes the proud but lifts up the humble”.

Humility I believe can be best be described as “coming into agreement with God about ourselves”, Paul’s epistle to the Church in Rome urges us “not to think of ourselves more highly than we ought” in fact Paul urges “to think of the needs of others”, God doesn’t give gifts to massage our egos but rather to build up the body of Christ.

To move in the call that God has placed on us we need to come to a place of maturity, not just letting God work through us, but more painfully and more challenging is letting God work in us.

Often too, God gifts us but we have to get ourselves prepared to be used by God, we won’t be effective as a Bible teacher unless we delve deeply into Gods word, nor will we ever move in the prophetic unless we pray and become used to listening to Gods voice, and we never be trusted with leadership of Gods people unless we learn how to serve and follow faithfully.

Too often I fear too many Chritians stay too much in the shallow end of their faith, nor are prepared to invest in the walk with Christ to really know what the potential God has placed within them, like the tragic  tale that Jesus told of the foolish man  who buried his talent in the ground. Potentially great evangelists  who never really talk about their faith, teachers who haven onthing to pass on, prophets who haven’t attuned their ear to the voice of God, apostolic leaders who’ve never learned that the first come last and a biblical model for leadership involves a towel and a bucket washing crap of the foot of disciples who may dessert you, and may betray you.

So, let’s think about how we can be the culture in the soil of discipleship whereby people can be empowered, grow and thrive in their faith, where the people of God are built up and Gods Kingdom grows and flourishes… Counting ourselves in to Gods plan and purpose for his plan in our lives in his world.

5 Fold Ministry -Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers (Eph. 5), call, Carrying burdens, Discipleship, grace, Guidance, identity, incarnation, inclusion, Life in the Spirit, vocation

“Everyone Gets to Play”

“The term “laity” is one of the worst in the vocabulary of religion and ought to be banished from Christian conversation”. -Karl Barth.

I think Barth is right. The Clergy laity distinction does create an unhelpful them and us image of division.

It is translated into some peoples minds as “the called and the uncalled” -which is rubbish we are all called people, we just are called to different things and different roles within the body of Christ.

Or the qualified and the unqualified, but actually although it is an amazing privilege to study theology at degree level the under-pinning idea that ordinary everyday Christians aren’t “qualified” to do the works of the Kingdom is simply ludicrous -most of the original disciples were unskilled men!

Or perhaps you feel like the ‘elite’ and the ‘plebs’ which again isn’t helpful, because I think there is no such thing as a  super Christian, as we all stand on level ground before  the cross of Christ in our need of salvation, and ultimately all good works come “not by might, nor by power but by my spirit says the Lord of Hosts”.

In fact I’d go further and point to two pictures within scripture which I think are more helpful:

i) The first is that of the body of Christ, where every bit is interdependent on each other, each bit is needed, no bit can claim a greater importance in the body as each is doing a role or function that only they can do.

ii) The second is the ‘priest-hood of all believers’, not the few elected holy people as under the old covenant, but everyone able to approach the throne of grace with boldness.

That is not to say that there isn’t an important role in leadership within Christ’s Church, although I fear that to often Christian leadership looks more like Lord Sugar than the Lord Jesus’ Christ, the board-board rather than the upper room where Christ washed, dust, sweat and camel crap of his disciples feet.

Jesus said “The Son of Man (a term he used to describe himself) has come not to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many”.

I think Jesus showed us leadership that looked very different, it looks like sacrificial and costly servant-hood because that is what it is.

A friend who is a vicar, once asked a Church about a Biblical character they thought of when they thought of leadership, their response was of Moses coming down the mountain clutching the tablets of stone under his arm and saying “thus sayth the Lord” -an image I find very uncomfortable, and no wonder if this is your starting point is leadership abused. Instead this friend talked about the leadership picture he prefers which is that of John the Baptist “I must decrease so he must increase” -the path to fruitfulness is humility, prayerfulness, finding strength in weakness and these are entirely the virtues of the upside-down Kingdom of God.

I think we need to go back to scripture and see afresh what leadership is meant to achieve, from my reading of scripture it is meant to “equip the body of Christ for works of service”.

We often think this is about the 5 fold ministries in Ephesians, “Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Teacher and Pastor”, where someone comes and does Evangelism, or moves in the Prophetic, but surely the role of the Apostle is to teach other people to think apostolicially -looking for those kingdom opportunities, the prophet to hear other people to hear from God for themselves, the teacher to enable people to learn and grow for themselves, the evangelist to help other people in evangelism, and the pastor to help us love and care for one another”.

It’s not about building ourselves up, but rather it is about building up the body of Christ.

We often forget that leadership is actually about bringing out the gifts of God in others, it’s not a calling (to use a football analogy) to be a star striker scoring all the goals, but rather it is the role of the team coach who is called to invest, encourage, bless, challenge, inspire God’s people so they can turn this broken upside down world the right way up for Christ Jesus.

It’s not about building a big empire, with lots of people downloading your sermons and turning up to your services and putting on a great show on a Sunday, but rather sending people out to transform the world on Monday morning living out their faith in everyday life on their front-lines.

Too often leadership has been “you help me do what I think we should be doing” than asking “what is God calling you to do, and how can we help, bless and enable you to fulfil God’s call on your life”.

Too often we think of leadership about ‘press ganging volunteers’ to do our things -What can I get from them? Rather than thinking “how can be bless them” in what and where God is calling them.

I’ll close with a controversial Youtube Clip:-


5 Fold Ministry -Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers (Eph. 5), Listening, Luke 15, vocation

Smelling the Sheep!!

 “You need to go out and sniff the sheep“! This was a phrase I’ve seen in a job advert for a vicar, it made me snigger as I don’t consider myself a sheep sniffer!

But did think about the image…

Where do we define what God is doing in his world, not from a safe distance in our comfortable churches, but in the midst of the vcommunity and listening to see where God is at work.

It reminded me too thst mission us actually about people more than strategy, and often the key component (which is so often missing) is relationships, we are in danger of knowing about our communities rather than knowing the people within the communities.

Smelling the sheep is a smelly and unpleasent job, something we’d rather not do, but when we do mission we encounter the poo and messy of broken and hurting lives.

Mission can’t be done from a safe comfortable distance away, the incarnation (Christ becoming human) shows the model which is becoming one of us, living ith, sharing our lives with.

 Too often we try and only reach out to nice people without lots of smelly brokenness, not realising that everyone is probably more smelly and more broken than we realise, in fact we might pong a bit ourselves too!

When we do Street Pastors I often talk about double listening, listening to the voice of Gods spirit and the voice of the culture around us…

I heard a tragic story of JJohns evangelistic event in a Cathedral, it was packed, and he asked who here attends Church regularly and almost every hand went up. We often do missional events to Christians to make us all feel better about ourselves, rather than trying to be Missional in amongst the stench of the farmyard, surrounded by the sheep.

I was thinking about being a Vicar as a shepherd (after all Bishops have crooks the imagery is there in scripture) and Jesus talks about a hood shepherd laying down their life for the sheep

The good shepherd in Luke 15, who goes to “seek and save the lost”…yet to often we act out the parable in reverse we have two or three fat sheep in churches wanting 100% of the shepherds time where the 99 are wandering the hills being devoured by wolves.
 The call is to be out there were it isn’t safe but dangerous, a place of sacrifice, after all the Good Shepherd lays down his life for his sheep.

-Sometimes we are scared of the ‘sheep bite’ from within the sheepfold, that keep us from fulfilling our calling to help in the rescue mission we are called too undertake.

Let us learn as Christians, to follow the footsteps and be like our Good Shepherd.

5 Fold Ministry -Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers (Eph. 5), brokenness, comparisons, Humility, inter-dependance, Leadership, Life styles, Pride, vocation

Too Much Testosterone…

“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.

5 Fold Ministry -Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers (Eph. 5), Authenticity, brokenness, Uncategorized

A Grubby Sad Church, A PEST!

(Taken from the talk by Howard Jameson’s talk yesterday, the wise and profound bits are from Howard, the less wise bits are from me!).

Doesn’t sound great does it? -but let’s look at it a bit closer!

How grubby is Church?
This isn’t how effective the cleaning rota is… although sometimes we can value the cleanliness of our buildings above blessing the community.
I wrote recently about how buildings are useful tools but sometimes our thinking around buildings has got confused and sometimes in some cases almost idolatrous!
Holiness is a word that makes people think that people like them aren’t welcome (when the truth is none of us is Holy, only Jesus).
At the heart of Gods character is Holiness where all the other traits of his characters stem (his love, grace and goodness) from this…
Jesus was so Holy that he knew that touching the grubby would make them Holy, Infecting with his Goodness rather than being contaminated by sin.
Jesus risk his reputation by engaging with the messy of hurting and broken lives, eating and visiting the home of sinners and tax collectors.
Whilst listening to Howard, I was reminded of a cracking quote from Pope Francis who said: “I prefer a church which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rather than a church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security.”
I drifted off for a second thinking of Bonhoeffer two fellowships the superficial “fellowship of the righteous” and the more real and authentic “fellowship of sinners” where people were real about life and its pains and struggles. Bonhoeffer reflected that if meeting with other Christians could (and did) cost him his life then when they met together in these dangerous conditions Church had to be “grubby” -real, worts and all Church.
How SAD is your Church?
Where is the songs of lament?
Do we give space for our culture to truthfully express what they feel, including the bits they feel frustrated and disappointed in?
Are we a Church that can cry together? Then when one part hurts every part hurts, rather than the “I’m alright Jack” attitude we see from time to time.
Where is the outlet for us to protest and express our pains and frustrations and disappointment about life?
Superficiality and dutiful obligated joy feel fake to our generation, as we long for authenticity and want to be heard.
Again, a Church that can be real and broken, is paradoxically a Church when we can celebrate the real joys together too.

How much of A PEST is your Church?

A PEST actually stands for the 5Fold ministries, Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Shepherds (or called Pastors) and Teachers.
Apostles take something out from the Church to the people, Prophets say the uncomfortable things and are the friends who lovingly challenge us, Evangelists bring people into Church, and the two roles we really value in the west is Pastoral Care (we want you to sort our problems out and visit us) and Teachers (we want you to ‘do Church well and not be too boring”). Yet Church when it is healthy and functioning is operating in each of these areas of gifting.
The leader can’t be all of these, no one person cam, but a leaders job is to identify those with the gifts and liberate them, to be able to serve.
Need to be where the people at.
Howard left us with a few questions, including:
Do we allow people to play artistically, liturgically,  theologically and Spiritually? -Do we allow
Or do we expect them to conform to our inherited model?
He explored the theme of new wine skins, a picture used by Jesus, which talks of old skins bursting with the new wine…
Asking is the ‘wine-skin’ we have able to cope with what God is doing, and what he is calling his people to be?
Are we ready to be a sad, grubby Church that’s A PEST? -I hope so!
5 Fold Ministry -Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers (Eph. 5)

One of your 5 a day (2)…

Yesterday we had a look at the five fold ministries which should be active within our Churches for them to flourish, with the Apostolic gift leading is forward, the evangelistic gift leading us out, the prophetic gift keeping us looking to God for direction, the pastoral gift causing us to look to the needs of those around us and the teaching gift to take us down deeper into scripture and to who God is.
“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” Ephesians 4:10.
Yet I came across this which I thought also added some interesting dimensions to the five fold ministries…
In many ways the absence of Christian lingo actually helped me think about these roles in a very different way.

The Entrepreneur (the apostle)

The Questioner (the prophet)
The Recruiter (the evangelist)
The Humaniser (pastor)
The Systemiser (teacher)
(Taken from “The Shape of Things to come” by Michael Frost and Alan Hirsch).
The Entreprener.
It made me think about being entrepreneurial as Churches and Christians and yet so many Churches we see are risk adverse, wanting to play it safe… We don’t value the blessing of entrepreneurs, people who think differently and see the world differently, but without them we will do what we always have done and we will get what we always have got.
Do you as a community welcome entrepreneurship or is the status-quo basis the dominant force?
If you are not an Entrepreneur how can you encourage someone who is, how could you help them be heard?
How can you support and encourage out of the box blue sky thinking to be listened to and be heard and taken seriously?
The Questioner.
The questioner, having had three students on placement with me and a kind of intern and new colleagues, the most frustrating but often the most fruitful question is the very simple “why do we do it like this?”
The word “WHY?” Is so important in our Church communities and yet sadly the answer is normally “I don’t know, we have always done it this way!”
Even if you aren’t naturally a questioner, can you help build a culture where the “why” or even the “why not” questions are welcomed and engaged with.
The Recruiter.
The person who invites people to the team or to the party, so often great events fail because no one is invited and no one is drawn on the team… Perhaps you don’t feel like a “world changer” but you are good at getting people involved, including people, widening the circle… You might never have thought of yourself as an evangelist, but it was a person like you who gathered a little group together and asked a farm lad Billy to drive a van to hear a firey preacher Mordecia Hamm (the driver Billy Graham was converted and millions have since heard about Jesus.
If you are not a recruiter, how can you encourage someone who is? Perhaps someone in this situation needs affirmation, often I think these type of people are the real unsung heroes of Churches.
The Humaniser.
So often Churches are faceless institutions busying themselves behind the scenes, we need the pastors to put a human face of love on a this institution… To embody vision, and to live it out in and amongst real people in a real way. There is a saying about love making the world go around, and we realise as Churches we may have great strategy, be asking the right questions and have great people turning up, but as St. Paul reminds us “if we have not love, we are nothing but a clanging gong or a resounding symbol”.
The Systemiser.
I know I love my blue sky out of the box entrepreneurial thinking, but I know that I need a detail person to come along and turn the wild dreams into a reality by taken step by step implementation sorting through the detail to make it happen, we need both in our Churches… I have been in Churches who live in the fuzzy bubble of “wouldn’t it be lovely if” and I have been in Churches that have systems for everything but no life, yet the most fruitful and wonderful place is where dreams are being turned into a reality which normally requires very different people to be working together.
If you are a big entrepreneurial thinking you need to invest in the systemizers and value and cherish their gifting, and systemizers need to value to big thinkers… Realising that God has out the keys of his Kingdoms growth in the DNA of the diversity of his Church.
I believe Mission works at its best when diversity works together.
It’s a celebration of difference, that which can be deeply frustrating in the other can also be the seed of transformation and future fruitfulness.
5 Fold Ministry -Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers (Eph. 5), Ministry

One of your 5 a day!


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” 
Yet I think we often unhelpfully load these roles with baggage that I think they were never intended to have.
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.
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.
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, 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.
Teachers, 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.