5 Fold Ministries: Hegeomai


NEW TESTAMENT 5 FOLD MINISTRIES: HEGEOMAI (trans. “service to others”)

An illustration: Look at your hand and see the thumb and fingers.

  • THE THUMB: Apostolic people, are as the thumb, they move in raising up and establishing new relational communities that expands the Kingdom and strengthens the Body of Christ. They usually are seasoned in life in Christ and body life and flow in some of the more dynamic gifts of the Spirit.
  • THE INDEX FINGER: This index finger, which points the way, appropriately pictures the prophetic people who guide the church by revealing the mind of God through various forms of revelation, including, dreams, visions, prophetic words and pictures.
  • THE LONG FINGER: Evangelistic people are like the longest finger, for through their compassion for others and passion for Jesus they are able to reach out and gather people around Christ.
  • THE RING FINGER: These are the pastoral people who help feed, nurture, strengthen and protect their fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. These people move in the love of the Father and seek to help others into that deeper intimate relationship with Jesus
  • THE LITTLE FINGER: Those who are able to communicate and to teach are as the little finger, and they can get into the ear farther than anyone else to ground believers in the Word.

We are perfected by the five-fold grace ministries of Jesus through our mutual submission to one another and our submission to Christ. As all believers possess Christ, so in varying degrees and expression do all of these grace ministry gifts abound in the lives of believers. As believers mature in Christ, so should the expression of these same grace gifts that operated in the life and ministy of Jesus while He walked the earth. To be able to express His life and to carry on His works, means simply the manifestation of all these gifts in ALL the saints, and not the select few as is often taught and believed by many within the Body of Christ.

FIVE FOLD MINISTRY IN THE 21’st CENTURY

There has been an awakening of five-fold ministries in the last decade. It has been a move of restoration. We can trace that restoration to the early decades of the last century. In the 1940’s we saw the rise of evangelists, and in the 1960’s the rise of pastors, and in the 1970’s we saw the rise of teachers. In the 1980’s there was the rise of the prophets, and now we have seen the rise of apostles. This is a restoration of New Testament church polity and ministry.

I do believe that the ministry gifts in Ephesians 4:11-12 are for more than the leaders, bishops or presbyters. I believe that they are for everyone in the body. There are varieties of expression of these gifts. God in His wisdom and design has called us to be an apostolic people, whereby the ministry or destiny He births in your spirit He will bring it to pass in and through you. In that sense you become apostolic when you see what has been placed in you by the Lord comes to life and you walk in it and fulfill your destiny in it. When the Lord ignites the passions of a woman’s heart to raise up a ministry for women in the church, this is both apostolic and pastoral. When a young man has birthed in him a passion to evangelize street kids, this is apostolic and evangelistic. But, in neither case are they bishops or presbyters. But, they are ministers. Everyone in the Body of Christ is to be a minister of the gospel.

The leaders/elders, bishops, and presbyters are to equip and release and coordinate the work of the ministry and bless what God is doing through the various ministries. These leaders/elders, bishops, and presbyters will also be equipped in the five-fold ministries, and in some areas more significantly than others, but their function will be in giftedness and calling as leaders/elders (bishops, presbyters).

There has never been a move of God that has taken place without problems, but most of the problems are of an internal nature surrounding those in leadership. But I declare to you by the Spirit of the living God, that we will see such a coming together of His body in this hour, such as we have not seen before. The word that Jesus spoke “I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it” is still in effect up to this very day. We say to you that His glory shall literally fill the earth as the waters of the sea. In order to accomplish this, as we said before, Christ has distributed ministry gifts which enable the Church to function as His Body. But the five gifts of Ephesians 4: 11 have a special purpose:

Verse 11 – The Ministries – these five ministry gifts are not “titles”, but ministry functions. There is nothing “elevated” about these gifts (1 Corinthians 4: 9-13). They simply have a serving ministry purpose.

9 For I think that God has set forth us last, the apostles, as it were appointed to death; for we have become a spectacle to the world and to angels and to men. 10 We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You are honorable, but we are despised. 11 Even until this present hour we both hunger and thirst and are naked and are buffeted and have no certain dwelling place. 12 And we labor, working with our own hands. Being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it; 13 being defamed, we entreat. We are made as the filth of the world, the offscouring of all things until now.

Ephesian 4: 12-13

Verse 12 – The Purpose “…to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up.” These five leadership gifts were not simply given to do the work of the ministry, but to enable God’s people to do the work of the ministry.

Verse 13 – The Time-Frame “…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.” The five-fold ministry did not pass away at the end of the first century, but was given until the maturing of the Body in unity, knowledge and expression of Christ’s fullness.

THE MINISTRY OF CHRIST

The five-fold ministry gifts are examples of how “grace has been given as Christ apportioned it” (Ephesians 4: 7). All ministry is simply the ministry of Christ expressed through the believer by the anointing of the Holy Spirit.

Christ is our Apostle (Hebrews 3: 1)

1 Therefore, holy brothers, called to be partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus,

Christ is our Prophet (Luke 24: 19)

19 And He said to them, What things? And they said to Him, The things concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a man, prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people,

Christ is our Evangelist (Matthew 9: 35)

35 And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.

Christ is our Pastor (1 Peter 5: 2-4)

2 Feed the flock of God among you, taking the oversight, not by compulsion, but willingly; nor for base gain, but readily; 3 nor as lording it over those allotted to you by God, but becoming examples to the flock. 4 And when the Chief Shepherd shall appear, you shall receive a never-fading crown of glory.

Christ is our Teacher (John 3: 2)

2 He came to Jesus by night and said to Him, Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God; for no man can do these miracles which you do unless God is with him.

Every ministry ( including that of the five-fold) is an extension of the ministry of Christ Himself, who is the chief cornerstone of the Foundations “…God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone” Ephesians 2: 19-20.

19 Now therefore you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God, 20 and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone,

The foundation of the Church is the apostle and the prophet (note Ephesians 3: 4-5).

4 by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)
5 which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it is now revealed to His holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit,

Ephesians 4: 12-13 indicates that these two ministries still continue in that foundational role, so it is vital for us to understand how each of these ministries work.

AN OUTLINE OF THE FIVE FOLD MINISTRIES

1. THE APOSTLE

An apostle is “one chosen and sent with a special commission.” They are referred to as “wise master builders” or “spiritual architects” (1 Corinthians 3: 10).

10 According to the grace of God which is given to me, as a wise master builder, I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let every man be careful how he builds on it.

The 12 apostles chosen by Jesus were witnesses of the resurrection (Acts 1: 15; 4: 33)

15 And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples and said, (the number of names together was about a hundred and twenty,)
33 And the apostles gave witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus with great power. And great grace was on them all.

; but there were many other true apostles

(Acts 14: 3-4)

3 Therefore they stayed a long time, speaking boldly in the Lord, who bore witness to the word of His grace, giving miracles and wonders to be done by their hands.
4 But the multitude of the city was divided. And part held with the Jews, and part with the apostles.

(Romans 16: 7)

7 Greet Andronicus and Junias, my kinsmen and my fellow prisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me.

(1 Corinthians 15: 5-7)

5 and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the Twelve. 6 Afterward He was seen by over five hundred brothers at once, of whom the greater part remain until this present day, but also some fell asleep. 7 Afterward He was seen by James, then by all the apostles.

(Galatians 1: 1,19)

1 Paul, an apostle (not from men, nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised Him from the dead), 19 But I saw no other of the apostles, except James the Lord’s brother.

, as well as false ones

(2 Corinthians 11:13-15)

13 For such ones are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. 14 Did not even Satan marvelously transform himself into an angel of light? 15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves as ministers of righteousness, whose end shall be according to their works.

(Revelation 2: 2)

2 I know your works and your labor and your patience, and how you cannot bear those who are evil. And you tried those pretending to be apostles, and are not, and have found them liars.

THE MINISTRY OF AN APOSTLE

A. Pioneering new churches

(1 Corinthians 9: 2; 1Corinthians 3: 6)

2 If I am not an apostle to others, yet doubtless I am to you, for you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord.
6 I have planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase.

B. Grounds the Church in truth

(Colossians 1: 25)

25 of which I became a minister, according to the administration of God given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God;

C. Preserves unity in the Body

(1 Corinthians 3: 3-5)

3 For you are yet carnal. For in that there is among you envyings and strife and divisions, are you not carnal, and do you not walk according to men? 4 For while one says, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are you not carnal? 5 Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom you believed, even to each the Lord gave?

D. Lays foundations in the Church

(1 Corinthians 3:10)

10 According to the grace of God which is given to me, as a wise master builder, I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let every man be careful how he builds on it.

E. Sets things in order

(Titus 1: 5)

5 For this cause I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are lacking and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed you,

F. Imparts spiritual gifts

(Romans 1: 11)

11 For I long to see you, so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift, to you for the establishing of you.

G. Fathers new ministries

(2 Timothy 1: 6; 1 Corinthians 4: 15)

6 Therefore I remind you to inflame anew the gift of God, which is in you by the putting on of my hands.
15 For though you have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers; for I have begotten you in Christ Jesus through the gospel.

H. A breakthrough-type ministry of miracles, signs and wonders

(2 Corinthians 12: 12; Acts 2: 43; Acts 5: 12)

12 Truly the signs of the apostles were worked out among you in all patience, in miracles and in wonders, and by works of power.
43 And fear came on every soul. And many wonders and miracles took place through the apostles.

12 And many miracles and wonders were done among the people by the hands of the apostles; and they were all with one accord in Solomon’s Porch.

I. A ministry of warfare

(2 Corinthians 10: 4-5)

4 For the weapons of our warfare are not fleshly, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds,
5 pulling down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought into the obedience of Christ;

J. Prayer and the ministry of the Word

(Acts 6: 4)

4 But we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the Word.

2. THE PROPHET

The ministry of the prophet involves being “moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1: 21) in prophetic utterance, which can be:

A. Predictive

(Acts 21: 10-11; 11: 27-28),

10 And as we stayed more days, a certain prophet from Judea named Agabus came down.
11 And coming to us, and taking Paul’s belt, and binding his hands and feet, he said, The Holy Spirit says these things: So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man whose belt this is, and will deliver him into the hands of the nations.

27 And in these days prophets from Jerusalem came to Antioch.

28 And one of them named Agabus stood up and signified by the Spirit that there should be great famine over the world (which also happened in the days of Claudius Caesar).

B. Directive

(Acts 13: 1-3),

1 And in Antioch some among the existing church were prophets and teachers. (such as Barnabas, and Simeon who was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, the foster-brother of Herod the tetrarch) and Saul.
2 As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, So, then, separate Barnabas and Saul to Me for the work to which I have called them.

3 Then having fasted and prayed and laid hands on them, they let them go.

C. Corrective

(Acts 15: 22-23,27,32).

22 Then it pleased the apostles and elders, with the whole church, to send chosen men from them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas; Judas, whose last name was Barsabas; and Silas, chief men among the brothers.
23 And they wrote these things by their hand: The apostles and elders and brothers send greeting to the brothers, from the nations in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia.

27 Therefore we have sent Judas and Silas, who will also announce to you the same things by word.

32 And Judas and Silas, also being prophets themselves, exhorted the brothers with many words and confirmed them.

There is such a thing, however, as a false prophet (1 John 4: 1);

1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but try the spirits to see if they are of God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

SCRIPTURAL GUIDELINES FOR PROPHECIES:

A. Prophecies should be time-tested

(Acts 11: 28)

28 And one of them named Agabus stood up and signified by the Spirit that there should be great famine over the world (which also happened in the days of Claudius Caesar).

B. The words of a prophet are judged by church leadership

(1Corinthians14: 29)

29 And if there are two or three prophets, let them speak, and let the others judge.

C. Any prophecy should be confirmed independently

(2 Corinthians 13: 1)

1 I am coming to you this third time. In the mouth of two or three witnesses every word shall be established.

D. Any prophecy should line up with Scripture, “the sure word of prophecy”

(2 Peter 1: 19-21)

19 We also have a more sure word of prophecy, to which you do well to take heed, as to a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the Daystar arises in your hearts,
20 knowing this first, that no prophecy of the Scripture came into being of its own private interpretation.

21 For prophecy was not borne at any time by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke being borne along by the Holy Spirit.

The prophet operates best in teamwork with the apostle (e.g. Paul and Silas). A prophet is not just someone with a prophetic anointing, but a recognized ministry to the Body at large. There are at least five dimensions of the Prophetic:

1. THE ROLE AND FUNCTION OF A PROPHET:

Ephesians 2: 20

20 and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone,

Ephesians 4: 11

11 And truly He gave some to be apostles, and some to be prophets, and some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers,

1 Corinthians 12: 28

28 And God set some in the church, firstly, apostles; secondly, prophets; thirdly, teachers, then works of power, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, kinds of languages.

Acts 13: 1

1 And in Antioch some among the existing church were prophets and teachers. (such as Barnabas, and Simeon who was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, the foster-brother of Herod the tetrarch) and Saul.

2. PROPHETIC PREACHING:

1 Peter 4: 11

11 If anyone speaks, let it be as the words of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as of the ability which God gives, so that God may be glorified in all things through Jesus Christ, to whom is the glory, and the might forever and ever. Amen.

3. PROPHETIC PRESBYTERY:

1 Timothy 4: 14

14 Do not neglect the gift in you, which was given you by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the body of elders.

Hebrews 6: 1-2

1 Therefore, having left the discourse of the beginning of Christ, let us go on to full growth, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,
2 of the baptisms, of doctrine, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.

Acts 13: 1-3

1 And in Antioch some among the existing church were prophets and teachers. (such as Barnabas, and Simeon who was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, the foster-brother of Herod the tetrarch) and Saul.
2 As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, So, then, separate Barnabas and Saul to Me for the work to which I have called them.

3 Then having fasted and prayed and laid hands on them, they let them go.

is used in: –

  • (a) Prophetic revelation and confirmation of those called into leadership ministry in the Church
  • (b) Ordination to the five-fold ministry
  • (c) Confirmation and activation of membership ministries in the Body of Christ
  • (d) Progress in Christian Maturity

4. THE SPIRIT OF PROPHECY:

This is an anointing arising from Christ within the believer, which takes place on occasions of special anointing:

Revelation 19: 10

10 And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said to me, Stop! I am your fellow servant, and of your brothers who have the testimony of Jesus. Worship God, for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.

5. THE GIFT OF PROPHECY:

1 Corinthians 12: 10

10 and to another workings of powers, to another prophecy; and to another discerning of spirits; and to another kinds of tongues; and to another the interpretation of tongues.

1 Corinthians 14:1, 3, 4, 6, 22, 24, 31, 39

1 Follow after love and desire spiritual things, but rather that you may prophesy.
3 But he who prophesies speaks to men for building up, and exhortation, and comfort.

4 The one speaking in a tongue builds himself up, but he prophesying builds up a church.

6 But now, brothers, if I come to you speaking in tongues, what will I profit you, except I speak to you either in revelation, or in knowledge, or in prophecy, or in teaching?

22 So that tongues are not a sign to those who believe, but to those who do not believe. But prophesying is not to those who do not believe, but to those who believe.

24 But if all prophesy, and some unbeliever or one not instructed comes, he is convicted by all, he is judged by all.

31 For you may all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all may be comforted.

39 So then, brothers, seek to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak in languages.

1 Thessalonians 5: 20

20 Do not despise prophesying.

Romans 12: 6

6 Then having gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, if prophecy, according to the proportion of faith;

Joel 2: 28

28 And it shall be afterward, I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh. And your sons and your daughters shall prophesy; your old men shall dream dreams; your young men shall see visions.

3. THE EVANGELIST:

Evangelists extend the frontiers of God’s Kingdom.

See the ministry of Philip in:

Acts 6: 3-7

3 Therefore, brothers, look out among you seven men being witnessed to, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this duty.
4 But we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the Word.

5 And the saying pleased all the multitude. And they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicholas, a proselyte of Antioch.

6 They set these before the apostles. And having prayed, they laid hands on them.

7 And the word of God was increasing. And the number of the disciples in Jerusalem was multiplying exceedingly; even a great crowd of the priests obeyed the faith.

Acts 8: 5-40

5 And Philip went down to the city of Samaria and proclaimed Christ to them.
6 And the people with one accord gave heed to those things which Philip spoke, hearing and seeing the many miracles which he did.

7 For out of those having unclean spirits, many came out, crying with loud voice. And many who had been paralyzed and lame were healed.

8 And there was great joy in that city.

9 But a certain man called Simon had long been conjuring in the city, and amazing the nation of Samaria, claiming himself to be some great one.

10 All gave heed to him, from the least to the greatest, saying, This one is the great power of God.

11 And they were paying attention to him, because for a long time he had amazed them with conjuring.

12 But when they believed Philip preaching the gospel, the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.

13 Then Simon himself believed also, and being baptized, he continued with Philip. And seeing miracles and mighty works happening, he was amazed.

14 And the apostles in Jerusalem hearing that Samaria had received the Word of God, they sent Peter and John to them;

15 who when they had come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit.

16 For as yet He had not fallen on any of them, they were baptized only in the name of the Lord Jesus.

17 Then they laid their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.

18 And when Simon saw that the Holy Spirit was given through laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money,

19 saying, Give me this power also, that on whomever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Spirit.

20 But Peter said to him, May your silver perish with you, because you have thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money.

21 You have neither part nor lot in this matter, for your heart is not right in the sight of God.

22 Therefore repent of this wickedness of yours, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you.

23 For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bond of iniquity.

24 And answering Simon said, You pray to the Lord for me that none of these things which you have spoken may come on me.

25 Then, indeed, having earnestly testified and having spoken the Word of the Lord also having preached the gospel to many villages of the Samaritans, they returned to Jerusalem.

26 And the angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying, Arise and go toward the south, on the way that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza, which is a deserted place.

27 And he arose and went. And behold, a man of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had charge of all her treasure and had come to Jerusalem to worship,

28 was returning. And sitting in his chariot he read Isaiah the prophet.

29 Then the Spirit said to Philip, Go near and join yourself to this chariot.

30 And Philip ran there to him and heard him read the prophet Isaiah, and said, Do you indeed understand what you are reading?

31 And he said, How can I unless some man should guide me? And he asked Philip to come up and sit with him.

32 And the content of the Scripture which he read was this: “He was led as a sheep to the slaughter, and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so He opened not His mouth.

33 In His humiliation His judgment was taken away, and who shall declare His generation? For His life is taken from the earth.”

34 And the eunuch answered Philip and said, I beg you, of whom does the prophet speak this? Of himself or of some other man?

35 Then Philip opened his mouth and began at the same Scripture and preached the gospel of Jesus to him.

36 And as they passed along the way, they came on some water. And the eunuch said, See, here is water, what hinders me from being baptized?

37 Philip said, If you believe with all your heart, it is lawful. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

38 And he commanded the chariot to stand still. And they both went down into the water, both Philip and the eunuch. And he baptized him.

39 And when they had come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away, so that the eunuch saw him no more. And he went on his way rejoicing.

40 But Philip was found at Azotus. And passing through, he preached the gospel in all the cities until he came to Caesarea.

Acts 21: 8

8 And the next day those around him going out, Paul came to Caesarea. And entering the house of Philip the evangelist, he being of the seven, we stayed with him.

They are co-workers with and extensions of apostolic ministry.

2 Timothy 4: 5;

5 But you watch in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fully carry out your ministry.”
1 Thessalonians 3: 2.

2 And we sent Timothy, our brother and minister of God, and our fellow laborer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you and to comfort you concerning your faith,

They also equip the body of Christ with the Evangelistic spirit of outreach.

4. THE PASTOR:

The Greek word for pastor is poimen which means “one who tends sheep or cares for flocks”

1 Peter 5: 1-4

1 I exhort the elders who are among you, I being also an elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed.
2 Feed the flock of God among you, taking the oversight, not by compulsion, but willingly; nor for base gain, but readily; 3 nor as lording it over those allotted to you by God, but becoming examples to the flock. 4 And when the Chief Shepherd shall appear, you shall receive a never-fading crown of glory.

John 21: 15 -17

15 Then when they broke fast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these? He said to Him, Yes, Lord, You know that I love You. He said to him, Feed My lambs.
16 He said to him the second time, Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me? He said to Him, Yes, Lord, You know that I love You. He said to him, Feed My sheep.

17 He said to him the third time, Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me? Peter was grieved because He said to him a third time, Do you love Me? And he said to Him, Lord, You know all things, You know that I love You. Jesus said to him, Feed My sheep.

But this word is used only in Ephesians 4: 11.

11 And truly He gave some to be apostles, and some to be prophets, and some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers,

NOTE: Elsewhere in the New Testament, other words are used: “shepherd”, “elder” and “overseer”. This is significant, to indicate that a comparison of these ministries should be made. A pastor is not simply a leader presiding over a local church, but has a Body-wide expression of ministry. As one of the five-fold ministry, a pastor is, in present terminology, more accurately a “pastor of pastors” or a “pastor of elders” beyond the local body. A pastor’s emphasis in ministry is in relationship networking.

THE MINISTRY OF THE ELDER:

An elder is simply someone older or more mature in the faith – a “father or mother in the Lord”. An elder is not a particular type of ministry, but rather is a leader in the Body

1 Peter 5: 1

1 I exhort the elders who are among you, I being also an elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed.

2 John 1

1 The elder to the elect lady and her children, whom I love in the truth and not only I, but also all those who have known the truth,

3 John 1

1 The elder to Gaius the beloved, whom I love in the truth.
“To the elders among you…Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers…”
1 Peter 5: 2

Acts 20: 17, 28-31

17 And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called the elders of the church.
28 Therefore take heed to yourselves, and to all the flock over which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to feed the church of God which He has purchased with His own blood.

29 For I know this, that after my departure grievous wolves shall enter in among you, not sparing the flock.

30 Also men shall arise from your own selves, speaking perverse things in order to draw disciples away after them.

31 Therefore watch and remember that for the time of three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears.

The word “elder” – presbuteros – refers to any leadership ministry. An elder may be one of the five or an “overseer” – episkopos – over a local church. But whether a person is a pastor (one of the five-fold ministries) or an overseeing elder (a spiritual parent in a local expression of body life), both are called to be shepherds, following the example of the

Chief Shepherd (John 10: 1-16)

a shepherd’s ministry is to feed

(verse 9);

9 I am the door. If anyone enters in by Me, he shall be saved and shall go in and out and find pasture.
protect

(verse 12);

12 But he who is a hireling and not the shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away. And the wolf catches them and scatters the sheep.

guide

(verses 3-4);

3 The doorkeeper opens to him, and the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.
4 And when he puts forth his own sheep, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him. For they know his voice.

and love the sheep.

(verse 15)

15 Even as the Father knows Me, I also know the Father. And I lay down My life for the sheep.

5. THE TEACHER:

A teacher is not just someone who teaches. We are all encouraged to teachColossians 3: 16,

16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

but one who brings instruction to the Body at large (note the “watering” ministry of Apollos in Acts 18: 24-28; 1 Corinthians 3: 2-10).

24 And a certain Jew named Apollos, an Alexandrian by birth, an eloquent man mighty in the Scriptures, came to Ephesus.
25 This man was instructed in the way of the Lord. And being fervent in the spirit, he spoke and taught the things of the Lord diligently, knowing only the baptism of John.

26 And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue. And Aquila and Priscilla heard him, and they took him and expounded to him the way of God more perfectly.

27 And intending to pass into Achaia, being encouraged, the brothers wrote to the disciples to welcome him; who, having arrived, very much helped those who had believed through grace.

28 For he mightily confuted the Jews publicly, proving by the Scriptures that Jesus was the Christ.

1 Corinthians 3: 2-10

2 I have fed you with milk and not with solid food, for you were not yet able to bear it; nor are you able even now.
3 For you are yet carnal. For in that there is among you envyings and strife and divisions, are you not carnal, and do you not walk according to men?

4 For while one says, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are you not carnal?

5 Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom you believed, even to each the Lord gave?

6 I have planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase.

7 So then neither is he who plants anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase.

8 So he planting, and he watering, are one, and each one shall receive his own reward according to his own labor.

9 For we are fellow-workers of God, a field of God, and you are a building of God.

10 According to the grace of God which is given to me, as a wise master builder, I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let every man be careful how he builds on it.

SUMMARY:

Only when the ministries of Ephesians 4: 11 begin functioning as God intended – both as individual ministries and as apostolic teams – will the purpose of their joint ministry be fulfilled: “…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” Ephesians 4: 13.

THE 8 CHARACTERISTICS OF APOSTOLIC CHURCHES:

NOTE: The following characteristics will flow in any size of church, including the house church.

1. Empowering Leadership

There is a distinction between “empowered” and “empowering” leadership. The first of these, the “empowered” are sometimes several, but quite often one “superhuman” leader who has all the gifts flowing in him and is compelled by a great vision. He is the one who leads but needs everyone else to catch his vision and turn it into reality, for we all know that one leader on his own can do nothing. These leaders hold a great deal of power over the lives of people and how ministries function in the local church. There have historically been many churches and ministries that have been birthed by such visionary men and women, but in the long haul, as soon as the leader died, that particular ministry suffered.

Empowering leadership on the other hand are apostolic leaders who realize that their calling and task is to enable Christians develop greater degrees of empowerment which already belongs to them as members of the Body of Christ. These apostolic leaders equip, support, motivate, encourage, mentor and supervise individuals to become the ministers that God has purposed them to be. Some of these Christians will in fact be led to go into areas of ministry life that their own leaders cannot go. This causes an empowering leader to rejoice, as he sees God at work carrying out his plans and purposes in the lives of those who are called according to his will. An empowering leader blesses and releases people into their calling.

2. Gift-oriented Ministry

The basic assumption here is that God has already decided by his sovereign will which Christians should be involved in particular ministries in the church. The role of the apostolic leaders is to help Christians identify their gifts and integrate them into ministries that match their gifts. The implications here affect the whole ministry of the local church.

The reality of gift-oriented ministry is that there is a realization that apostolic ministry is not done in one’s own strength but rather through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit in every believer. This means that all Christians in the local church, empowered by the Holy Spirit, can enter into apostolic ministry and accomplish extraordinary exploits for Jesus Christ.

The greatest stress in local churches is that most of the ministry is carried out by a few zealous and passionate people. The vast majority of Christians are consumers and beneficiaries of the ministry taking place. Many of these Christians cannot identify their gifts or their place of ministry in the local church.

Another contributing dynamic in dysfunctional church ministry is that many people who do function in ministry are functioning in ministries that do not match their gifts. This creates an environment that is stressful, unfulfilling and frustrating.

People need to identify their gifts, be equipped, mentored, and then released in their ministry gifts. If this were to take place, then people would become more effective and fulfilled and the church would become the apostolic ministry of Jesus to the world. There would be increased joy as each person functioned as God had intended him or her to be. The implications are far reaching for all people, including current leaders in churches. The immediate results would be increased joy, greater effectiveness in ministry, and more misunderstanding by other Christians who struggle with this type of Holy Spirit led ministry. Misunderstanding is a natural result of desiring to follow God’s calling. Some people just won’t get it, and that is OK.

3. Passionate Spirituality

The most important aspect of spirituality is not it’s expression, but rather it’s passion. When we see the Body of Christ and it’s diversity, we realize that there is not only a diversity of color, culture, belief and expression, but there is one common universal characteristic in the midst of all the diversity, and that is passion. Passion is best defined as faith that is lived out with commitment to Christ, with Holy Spirit fire and enthusiasm. Apostolic churches must demonstrably live out this passion for Jesus.

Churches that approach spirituality with passion for Jesus will grow in character and grow in number. Jesus will be very real, and as people desire something real and tangible and passionate spirituality ignites passion in the hearts of others. It becomes contagious.

Apostolic churches must seek to support Christians in living out their spiritual passion more and more consistently and remove the obstacles that choke spiritual passion and life from the very start.

4. Functional Structures

The most important criterion for forms and structures in the church is if they fulfill their purpose or not. Church structures are never an end in them but are rather a means to an end. Whatever does not measure up (i.e. demeaning leadership structures, inconvenient worship service times, or ministries that do not impact people) is changed or laid to rest. This allows for continued freshness in the midst of ministry. Apostolic ministry recognizes the times, the audience, and that God has many ways in which to impact the culture. The structures are not sanctified, but the message and the ministry of the Holy Spirit are. As the Holy Spirit leads, the apostolic ministries will recognize where change must take place in the structures in order to accomplish the mission of Christ to the world.

5. Inspiring Worship Service

The key criterion in worship that is biblical and apostolic is whether people who come encounter God and find the experience spiritually uplifting and enjoyable. The whole area of dynamic inspiring worship is to have an encounter with Christ and enter into his presence. It is in this experience that Jesus ignites the heart himself to go out and reach others in his Name. His passion in us releases compassion for others.

6. Holistic Small Groups

NOTE: For house churces what is considered here as holistic small groups is usually part of normative expression of body life.

The book of Acts is replete with examples of meetings in homes where people gathered to break bread together, be taught the teaching of the apostles, pray and have fellowship together (Acts. 20:20), Apostolic churches are churches that create small communities of faith where Christians can find intimate community, practical help and intensive spiritual interaction. This is holistic. They not only gather to discuss Bible texts, but apply biblical insights to the every day issues of the participants. This is modeled after the first group of twelve whom walked and traveled and ministered with Jesus.

Holistic small groups will be the safest place in which to discover, mentor and use spiritual gifts. It is a safe place in which to mature in gifts and be prepared to minister to the wider Body of Christ. All the gifts should manifest their presence in holistic small groups. Where Jesus is present, the entire gift should be present and effective in ministry.

7. Need Oriented Evangelism

Apostolic churches will only grow when they take up the call to evangelize. Churches will not grow without Christians sharing the gospel with others. Evangelism takes many forms. All are called to be witnesses for Christ, and all can bear witness to the gospel when the opportunity is given.

Need oriented evangelism is the manner in which the gospel is shared that meets the questions and needs of pre-Christians. Apostolic evangelism is needs oriented. In the neo-pagan age that we live, there is a growing need for the demonstrable power of the Holy Spirit in the lives of people. The neo-spiritual paganism in the West has made the door of opportunity wide open to apostolic evangelism.

Apostolic evangelism is need oriented and meets the person where they are and addresses that need. Apostolic evangelism is also presence and power evangelism. In presence evangelism, the very presence of Christ will manifest in the life of the person and prepare that person to receive the gospel, or as you pray with they will have a supernatural encounter with Christ. In power evangelism, there will be miracles and healing occurring and other manifestations of the Holy Spirit, as you move and pray under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. In each of these, apostolic evangelism is need oriented.

8. Loving Relationships

Apostolic churches are churches that manifest loving relationships. Love is manifested by the Holy Spirit in our hearts and is demonstrated in our relationships with one another. Loving relationships are characterized by how we treat one another, by how we prefer and honor one another. It is also demonstrated in how we care and minister to one another privately and corporately. Do we treat each other as Christ would treat us? Are we gracious, kind, loving, long-suffering, patient, and faithful? Apostolic churches encourage community with one another and greater intimacy. They encourage life to the fullest, and encourage participation in the lives of others, in sorrow, trial, triumph and joy. Loving relationships grow as Christ grows in each person and as the Holy Spirit brings healing and restoration.

These churches where practical love is lived out endows a church with much greater magnetic power than all marketing efforts this world could muster. It is attractive. Real love is contagious. Jesus himself said the world would know us by the love we have for one another. Apostolic churches walk in that love knowing it has the power to turn the world right side up!

NOTE: These 8 Characteristics are adapted and taken from a presentation on Natural Church Development (by Christian Schwarz)as it relates to the Apostolic Church of Pentecost. The moderator of the ACOP, Rev. Gil Killam is a teacher and coach of Natural Church Development, and sees it as the most biblical form of church growth and development. His presentation emphasized how this form of ministry development is in harmony with the Scriptures and with the historical roots of the ACOP. These characteristics are the signs of a healthy church, and these signs can be found in churches that have fully embraced apostolic ministry as revealed in the Gospels, the Book of Acts and the letters of St. Paul.

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About Sam Buick

A lover and disciple of Jesus Christ. Married to my best friend, Lori-Anne. Father to 3 incredible daughters, Carragh, Caitlin and Erinn, and sons-in-law Alex, and Stephen Davis. An avid reader, a Droid user, a Mac addict, a lover of footy ball and football (there is a difference), and hockey. Once a soldier. Once a youth worker. Once an ordained minister. Once a claims adjuster. Once a charismatic, now a cessationist. Once a just war advocate, now a pacifist. A disciple of Christ, 5 point classical Calvinist. There is only one way to God, and that is through Jesus Christ alone.
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