Aim: To understand the purpose of the Fivefold Ministry and to identify your office.
EPHESIANS 4: 11 – 16 is the job description of the Fivefold Ministry. Our job is to perfect (mature) the saints so that they can fulfil the work God has for them. Our job is to edify (teach and equip) the saints so that we can become a people of unity, a people who know Jesus personally and intimately, a people who look like and reflect Christ. Our job is to help the Saints get to a place of spiritual maturity so that they are no longer children carried away and deceived by every new wind of doctrine. That is our job.
As a fivefold minister that must be your focus; to build / edify the Body of Christ so that she may be a Bride without spot or wrinkle for the Lord. Anything less than this falls short of your true calling.
This job that God has called us to is a supernatural one and therefore it will take supernatural training and supernatural ability to complete. No flesh can build God’s church, but yet that is what we are being called to do. This is why we must be DEAD. For us to truly do the work God is calling us to do, we must get to a place where we are living sacrifices so that the Lord is free to use us as He wills.
Our job is to plant and water as the Lord leads in the very sphere that He has called us to (1 Corinthians 3:7-9). Being a Fivefold minister is a call to the “front line” of God’s army. Because of this we cannot afford to be entangled with this world (2 Timothy 2:4) – that is why the Lord has to take us through The Process of Sonship. So that He alone is our first love and so that the love of the world is not in us (1 John 2:15).
Defining and Identifying your office (apostle, prophet, evangelist or pastor)
So as a leader in God’s church, we are all called to mature (teach) the saints, but “how” we all do this will depend on the office God has called us to. That’s what we will look at now.
“Every pastor is a teacher, but not every teacher is a pastor.” - Holy Ghost
First things first. All Fivefold Ministers are teachers; the apostle, the prophet, the evangelist and the pastor. It would be pretty hard to equip and train without teaching, wouldn’t it? Therefore, there are in fact 4 headship offices. All the fivefold should be apt to teach (1 Timothy 3:2) because they all lead and equip God's people. However, not all teachers are pastors by office/function. Some teachers may, in fact, be apostles, prophets or even evangelists (e.g. Acts 13:1).
The job of the fivefold is to equip the saints i.e. bring the body to maturity in Christ in all areas of their life. These ministries deal with spiritual matters, such as doctrine, unity of the faith, knowledge of Jesus and anything hindering a person’s relationship with God. There are other ministries that solely focus on the physical needs of the Body (i.e. that of Deacons), but as a fivefold leader your job is primarily spiritual and so any administrative work should never overtake your true job description (Read Acts 6:1-6).
So let’s break down how we can identify each office of the fivefold ministry:
Unlike many people think, being an apostle is not just about planting churches; all the fivefold can actually do that (Acts 8 – Philip the evangelist and deacon starts a church; Acts 11:19-30 – church started by ordinary believers). If you are called to the office of an apostle, you are called to implement God's order for the church.
The anointing of the apostle allows them to break forth into new grounds, going where no one else has gone and making a way for others to follow through. They don’t build on another man’s territory (2 Corinthians 10:16).
They raise up others to continue the work they start and eventually move on to new work (Acts 14:23).
Apostles deal with discipline and instruction – the spiritual "Fathering" side whereas pastors are more like “mothers” in spirit (1 Corinthians 4:15) – nurturing and caring.
Apostles set a pattern / blueprint for the church (1 Corinthians 14).
They are concerned with order / structure – establishing the believers in unity (Acts 8).
They see the big picture and so keep the body moving forward – “we’re not there yet!” (Hebrews 6:1-3)
Partakes in many different types of work which reach different types of people (spiritual entrepreneurs)– that’s how you can tell if someone is an apostle, they don’t just replicate the same work over and over (Acts 9:15, 2 Timothy 1:11, 1 Timothy 2:7).
Reveals the mysteries of Christ (Colossians 1:26-27).
Can operate in the other ministries if necessary – fulfils whatever role is needed (1 Peter 5:1, Acts 13:1)
Brings the fivefold together (1 Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4).
Unlike many people think, being a prophet is not just about prophesying. Everyone in the church should be able to prophesy, they just need to know how to hear God’s voice. If you are called to the office of a prophet, you are called to bring people into an intimate relationship with the Lord.
The prophet is concerned about the heart
Whilst the apostle would run full steam ahead if they had their way, the prophet helps to bring balance to the foundational work by helping the saints focus on intimacy with God and keeping the apostle in check (1 Corinthians 14:37).
The prophet restores the hearts of God's people back to Him
They deal a lot with internal healing / deliverance – things that hinder intimacy with God.
Helps people find their place – and appoints into place (Acts 13) .
They teach the Body to hear God for themselves and how to enter into intimacy with the Lord
Prophets are preachers; they exhort and confirm the brethren (Acts 15:32)
Foretells what God is doing in the world and church – (Acts 11:28, 20:11)
Reveals the mysteries of Christ
Lays a foundation with the apostle
The new testament prophet is not to be confused with the old testament prophet. All the fivefold are new gifts that Jesus gave (Ephesians 4) and so they are all new, although their functions were always evident. Some of the old testament prophets would actually be considered apostles today, and some of the roles of the old testament prophets can be seen in the work of both the prophet and the evangelist.
Unlike many people think, the evangelist is also called to perfect the saints. Although they do have a special calling to call the “lost” hearts back to God, they are also called to teach the Body of Christ.
Evangelists Preach Christ / kingdom message
They deal with both one on one / mass evangelism - bringing people into the kingdom
Using scripture can bring an understanding of Jesus – a revelation of Him as saviour (Acts 8:35)
Typically they have an external signs and wonders ministry
They teach the Body to lead others to Christ
They bring a fire (conviction of sin and hate compromise)
They bring a passion for the Body to live a set-apart life
Equips the Body with an eternal perspective; a heart for the lost and desire to be used of God right where they are.
Unlike many people think, the pastor is not just the guy who preaches on Sundays. The preacher behind the pulpit could in fact be an apostle, prophet or evangelist. Being a pastor is about gathering and caring for the sheep.
Spiritual "mothering" - nurture and care of the flock
Reminds the saints and keeps them grounded in doctrine – bite-sized chunks. Makes things edible and practical.
Raises spiritual children to a level of maturity and then releases them
Teaches and trains in both spiritual and natural things
Feeds the sheep they tend to
Gets involved in their spiritual children's lives
Cannot carry too many babies at once
Encourages the Body to serve one another
Always available to their spiritual children
Also deals with internal healing
Your office reveals your heart and how you think. It is your function and you sit in it where ever you go.
CAN YOU IDENTIFY YOUR OFFICE AND THE OFFICE OF OTHERS IN THE BODY?
HOW DO THEY OPERATE? HOW DO THEY MATURE THE SAINTS? WHAT BURNS IN THEM?
A Sneak Peek into Your Calling
Now, your office is not to be confused with the type of calling that you have i.e. who you serve...
Some of us are called to the local Body of Christ - a David type / Membership / “Pastoral” ministry where we serve a local community.
Some of us are called to reach the Body of Christ cross-culturally - a Paul type / Missions / “Evangelistic” ministry where we herald a particular message from the Lord.
Some of us are called to our own social group of people - a Moses type / Movement / “Prophetic” ministry where we lead a social community of believers outside of the local assembly, helping to set free and deliver from the worldly system.
Some of us are called to the civil Body of Christ - a Joseph type / Marketplace / “Apostolic” ministry where we preserve and support the people of God through our secular profession/career.
The process of Sonship specifically prepares you for the calling Abba has given you – to find out more, purchase The Process of Sonship book.