Weekly Sabbath Survey
Five Fold Ministry — 10-8-2016
In the 80’s we in the Charismatic movement got amazing Bible teaching at parachurch meetings. It was nothing like we had ever heard in our own church: things hidden in the verses preachers don’t preach. (I pray, dear reader, you are not limiting your Bible knowledge to what you get on Sunday morning.) One new item for me was “The Five Fold Ministry.” I talked briefly with a couple of people in the past few months who, like me back then, did not know what this is. It seems good to do a teaching. First, according to Paul, the purpose of the Five Fold Ministry is to raise up spiritually mature saints of God. They, in turn, join the Five Fold ministry, taking the lead in the training of other Believers and/or reaching outsiders with the Gospel. If one is called to this ministry, they should get a feel for which office suits them best.
Apostles are people who go to the mission field and/or have oversight of one or more flocks of Believers. Prophets are people who remind, rebuke and protect the flock, other leaders, and each other: they are the sheep dogs of Jesus). Evangelists are people who go to the mission field and/or specialize in the salvation message in churches where some folks are sitting unsaved). Pastors are people who have a great love and compassion for God’s people. They are under-shepherds [counselors, preachers] to the sheep. Teachers are people who love to study and teach others what God has shown them. The pastor and teacher are both usually pretty mild-mannered and work well together. The pastor may teach but not be very good at it, and the teacher may preach/shepherd and not be very good at that. Some people combine the two nicely and do both things fairly well, as Pastor/Teacher. All five of these may serve as a leader in congregations, and have been called “Pastor” whether they were one or not. Apostles and Prophets don’t do as well in the pastor slot, but they do teach and preach. They are support and even correction for the others. All five should work well together, but sometimes, they just don’t. The person who is the designated leader must be willing to act as quarterback–not dictator—allowing others to ‘play’ (delegating), instead of trying to be the whole team by themselves. Even this doesn’t always happen. Ego is a terrible thing in the servants of God.
Jesus, our example, was ALL five! He is an Apostle on the largest mission field ever–The World! (John 3:16). He is a Prophet rebuking and telling people uncomfortable truths and warning them of the future. He is an Evangelist bringing the Good News: we are loved by God and can be saved for heaven. He is the perfect 23rd Psalm Pastor, the true Shepherd of the Sheep. And He is the finest Rabbi (teacher) that ever lived.
Each of us has a little of each ministry because of His Holy Spirit in us. But each Born Again Believer has giftings that make him/her most effective in helping others. God and other people may give us hints of what we are good at. The group with the largest membership is Evangelist: people who really want to tell others about the saving power of The Blood of Jesus. They aren’t put off by hearing “NO.” All Believers admire the Evangelist. The group with the smallest membership is Prophet: people who tell the unvarnished truth. They are never wildly popular. They make some people uncomfortable and others angry. They grow a thick skin, and learn patience with people who just don’t ‘get it.’ They get used to hearing “NO.”
I had several people tell me I should be teaching and/or preaching before I really thought I could. But I heard in my heart, “Feed my sheep.” I studied Peter and his calling. Once I started, I was in the right place! Later, I found myself in ‘the school of the prophets’, keeping close to people of great courage who looked ahead, spoke the truth boldly, and were not worried about getting kicked out of the ‘synagogue.’
Whatever office we find ourselves fitting into, like Paul told Timothy, do not be shy or fearful. Jump in. Open your mouth. God will fill it. And always be ready when it is convenient and when it isn’t. If you have a false start, realizing you’re in a slot you don’t fit, back out and try again! God will lead you. [See Romans 12:4 and following for another list of ways to simply serve the Lord.]
Some have special abilities as Apostles [who start many congregations and have oversight of them in the Lord]; another office [of special ability] is the Prophets [who are called to speak forth to others what God is saying]; He called some to be Evangelists [soul winners] preaching the message of salvation; still others are gifted with deeply caring for people [they are Shepherds/Pastors of the flock of God]; and lastly are they who are gifted students of the Word of God and therefore Teachers of the flock in His ways. Ephesians 4:11-16