‘So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.’
In this passage, Paul writes to all believers stating that Christ has gifted His body with people equipped to function in different roles. Alan Hirsch, author of The Forgotten Ways, thinks all the roles identified in Ephesians 4 will need to be in play for a real multiplication movement of God to occur in our day. He suggests that while each of us probably live out all these roles at some level we will tend to gravitate toward some more than others. He points out that in creation itself – not just the church – these functions exist, but that God’s intention in making us this way was to equip “his people for works of service.”
Here are his definitions of the five ministry roles:
The APOSTOLIC function: Sending and Extending
Extending Jesus’ love and life into new cultures and contexts.
The PROPHETIC function : Revealing and Reforming
Keeping the Church faithful to God and serving in the world.
The EVANGELISTIC function : Exciting and Inviting
Telling the story and recruiting to Jesus’ cause.
The SHEPHERDING function : Protecting and Providing
Developing and maintaining healthy community in the Body.
The TEACHING function : Explaining and Training
Passing on wisdom and understanding.
They all need each other. Only Jesus encompassed all of the five. For the rest of us, we need to participate in a team, with others who are not all like us.
Over the coming months we want to bring a focus to each of these areas to consider how we might build and / or strengthen each of these ministries within our own congregations. It will help to know where you are starting from – how do you see things and where do your own strengths lie? Remember, it’s only an indication of these things – it doesn’t put you in a box or define you. You can take an APEST assessment here: https://www.theforgottenways.org/what-is-apest.aspx
We are grateful to 5Q Central https://5qcentral.com/ for sharing a variety of resources which help us to see how a good understanding of the APEST functions can envision and equip for all kinds of areas of life.