‘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 the passage, Paul is writing to all believers and states 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. Alan 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:
APOSTLES extend the gospel. As the “sent ones,” they ensure that the faith is transmitted from one context to another and from one generation to the next. They are always thinking about the future, bridging barriers, establishing the church in new contexts, developing leaders, networking trans-locally.
PROPHETS know God’s will. They are particularly attuned to God and his truth for today. They bring correction and challenge the dominant assumptions we inherit from the culture. They insist that the community obey what God has commanded. They question the status quo.
EVANGELISTS recruit. These infectious communicators of the gospel message recruit others to the cause. They call for a personal response to God’s redemption in Christ, and also draw believers to engage the wider mission, growing the church.
SHEPHERDS nurture and protect. Caregivers of the community, they focus on the protection and spiritual maturity of God’s flock, cultivating a loving and spiritually mature network of relationships, making and developing disciples.
TEACHERS understand and explain. Communicators of God’s truth and wisdom, they help others remain biblically grounded to better discern God’s will, guiding others toward wisdom, helping the community remain faithful to Christ’s word, and constructing a transferable doctrine.
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.
Read more here: https://www.theforgottenways.org/what-is-apest.aspx