With so much confusion and assumptions on the ministry gift offices in the body of Christ we have written up some definitions to better define these. Let us first state that all of the five fold offices stated in Eph 4:11 are not titles but functions. Second that promotion comes ultimately from God through other fivefold offices recognizing and affirming. Third that a person gift makes room for him and the honor given is not honor taken by that gift. We also state that a person can be in more than one office, but generally one will be more dominating than others. And lastly because a person has some tenacity towards a certain office does not mean that is the final or primary call. As with these offices they are have the dynamics of a true disciple and have already been and continue to do these dynamics. A divine calling and the fulfillment of that calling has a period of development. Paul said “takes time to make your calling and election sure”. The word calling means invitation and the word election means the act of God choosing.
Ephesians 4:11-13 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
We see in Eph 4:11 five gifting given. Verse 11 tells of the office, verse 12 tells of the reason these gifts are given and also show how the trinity works with these gifts, and verse 13 parallels verse 12 in how these gifts function. We believe there are five gifting producing 4 functions. We also believe these gifting are evident today and all five are needed and in operation. Though some might be denied operation or tried to be not recognized, none the less, they do exist possibly with limited exercised authority do to mans denial.
Five ministry gifts each have distinct operations
1. Apostles – unity of the faith
2. Prophets – knowledge of the Son of God
3. Evangelists – bring us unto a perfect man
4. Pastors – bring us unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ
5. Teachers – bring us unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ
These gifts are given for three purposes
- To perfect the saints Perfecting – complete furnishing; equipping
- For the work of the ministry Ministry – service; ministering
- To edify the Body of Christ Edifying – build up; promote growth
It just so happens that this is the reason these gifts are given, but that it is also a process that is given. The gifts are not only doing these three things, but help the saints carry out these three things. To fully understand the gifts, we need to understand the meaning of the name given to each one.
Apostles – one who is sent
Prophets – interpreter of oracles that are hidden
Evangelist – bringer of good tidings
Pastors – Shepherd ; herds man
Teachers – one fitted to teach; master; doctor
Let’s give definition to each gift in a descriptive way of function.
Evangelist– is one who is sent to save souls and present the gospel message. We see evangelist where the lost are and they are not listed in the order of the church in 1 Cor 12:28. Marks of an evangelist are salvations and healings and miracles. They have an ability to touch hardened hearts with God’s love for them to receive salvation. They also are found in the midst of environments that breed sin. The word is only used three times in scripture. The best example of an evangelist is Stephen. Philip started his ministry as a deacon in the helps ministry, in Acts 6:1, and moved into calling in Acts 8:26-40. They are generally drawn to pastors. They are trans-local traveling by themselves as a rule.
Characteristics of an Evangelist
- Supernatural advertising of signs and wonders, words of knowledge
- Preach Gospel of Jesus only
- Must preach the Word – not church doctrine
- Have ability to bring people to an individual decision
- Free people
- Do not have responsibility inside church walls
- Are active – always in motion
- Are aggressive and are Bold – do bold and crazy things
- Transient – Move around
- Called to the world not the church – called outside of the church walls
- Has an Anointing for the lost finding opening to hearts
- Burns for lost souls – wins them to Christ – most driving force in them
- Intolerant to churches laziness for outreaches and witnessing
- Have great faith to believe God for money because churches do not support them
- Long for mass salvations
- Preach simple message of salvation
- Don’t care about opposition confronting the enemy head on
- People have joy and rejoice after the evangelist speaks
Pastor – The word pastor is only used one time in scripture yet we ahv made it the primary function today. Pastors are nurturers and must lay their lives down for the flock. They are healers of the broken and are given oversight to make sure the needs of people are being met. Just like a herdsmen there are also under-shepherds or pastors in almost every body of believers. They may not be recognized but are active meeting needs and ministering healing to others. Pastors are drawn to teachers to evangelist and then to teachers. Pastors are most effective one on one and modeling Christ. Not all pastors will be dynamic teachers but will be dynamic in showing love. They were never to be placed as final oversight or vision casters to the people. They are always given to a set group of people.
Description of office of Pastor
- Pastors have a love for people.
- Must have compassion for people and the church.
- Have a giving attitude instead of taking
- Return love for hate when criticized
- Looking for the one hurting and focus on them until healed or whole
- Never give up on people because they have a large heart
- They see the good, finished and complete person.
- They have a special grace for the office
- They have a teaching gift and ability to share life experience in counseling
- They are over protective of their sheep
- They have long patience
- Shepherds should be among the sheep
- They are settled and remain for the long haul.
- Need wisdom, knowledge, and discerning of spirits, not for leading a body but for ministering the hurst of the people.
Teacher – The office of Teacher is one that stirs others to know the truth. It is more than explaining, it carries an anointing that brings change. Teachers love truth and love to study. They are avid readers and study topics in multiple ways. They are generally scribes and historians. They expand on what apostles release and prophets speak so others can clearly understand. They teach line upon line. They carry a divine, supernatural ability to impart knowledge above the natural way of doing. True teachers will never teach doctrinal error, but will study in-depth before giving new insight. They are an office with a main thrust to study and give away what they have learned. Teachers explain things from many different angles so the person is sure to understand.
Teachers are willing to be taught. They can be local and trans-local in ministry assignments as they are given to the body as a whole. They generally travel by themselves and sometimes with apostles and prophets.
Teachers function to do the following;
- 1. Inspire – light a fire
- 2. Lay a foundation, then build upon that foundation
- 3. Build upon other Ministries
- 4. Always build up
- 5. Teach you into correction with out you knowing it
- 6. To counsel, teachers will hand you a tape or book
- 7. Convey Word of God in depth
- 8. Are teachable
- 9. Have a love for books
- 10. Hunger and thirst for knowledge and truth
- 11. Get a revelation from a Prophet then teach on it
- 12. Are very organized people
- 13. Have love for Word of God
- 14. Leave you desiring more
- 15. Transfer truth
- 16. Teachers who are pastors of a church, repeat in three to five year cycles
Prophet – Prophets speak from revelation the heart of God in a matter. It is not by perception, but by inspiration. They are foretellers and reveals of the intentions of God. They move in the inspirational gifts of 1 Cor. 12 of words of wisdom, prophecy, words of knowledge. It is not by perception, but by inspiration.
This office requires a consistent manifestation of at least two of the revelation gifts on an ongoing basis.
Most prophets also experience prophetic dreams and filled with symbolism and visions. Prophets speak more than individual prophetic words but prophetic words or messages that shift spiritual atmospheres over regions. They generally are draw to apostles. #1 job of prophets is not to prophecy but to train the people to hear God. When people can hear God in a region it is just as great or greater than a prophet releasing word over a region! They are generally trans-local as they are given to the body as a whole. They travel by themselves and with Apostles.
Attributes of the office of Prophet
- Many think all a prophet does is prophesy
- Need to be a preacher or teacher of the Word
- Laying on of hands goes with it
- Generally healing goes with it — Luke 4:27
- Generally the Miraculous goes with it — II Kings 5:33
- Many people think Prophets should know everything
- Many people think that any time they want, a Prophet can give a word – only as Spirit wills
- Prophets are only human
- Prophets hearts are broken over sin
- Prophets speak words in season
- New Testament Prophets speaks words of correction sandwiched in love
- Prophets speak directional confirming words
- A prophet of God is a messenger of Gods will not doctrine.
- A prophet initiated no messages or sermons from his own will in the name of the Lord.
- A prophet speaks only new revealed words from God.
- A prophet has to be commanded by God to speak.
- A prophet is not allowed to speak any error in Gods name.
- A prophets predictions in the old Testament had to come true or he would be branded a false prophet and be executed, thus limiting his ability to learn from his mistakes and limiting his ability to again mislead the people of God.
- Prophecy is the very Voice of Christ speaking to the church!
Apostle – With so much confusion and lack of understanding we will spend a little more time on this gifting. It is a governmental gift given to bring the church into order and increased authority and anointing. Most Apostles are intolerant of doctrinal error as it makes their jobs harder. There has always been apostles we have just not recognized them nor the humility they operate in will promote themselves as such. Apostles are forerunners and introduce new dimensions of spirit life. They are kingdom focused over an individual body. They are transient and given the body as a whole. All apostles are fathers but not all fathers are apostles. They see the gildings in people and have an ability to bring those gifting out. Since they have been called to perfect the saints, they see all truth and not just one aspect of truth. While pastoral truth deals with the individual life, Apostolic truth deals with overall effect on the body. Pastoral truth produces self serving servants, Apostolic truths produce body serving sons. Apostles is actually the only office Jesus appointed and the only office commissioned in scripture.
An apostle is sent with a message and specific assignment and mandate given by God directly for a specific people, specific cause and purpose directly concerning the Kingdom of God. This message releases people from the past confront the present and establish the future. The fruit of apostleship is evident by their love for correct doctrine and are intolerant of false concepts and teaching. They are writers of books, establishers of schools and training, and have put in place dynamics that continue to expand and grow when they are no longer around. Birthing a church does not make a person an apostles, an evangelist can do this. Running a large church does not make a person apostles, a good administrator can do this. All apostles have lived a life of suffering for righteousness sake to establish the kingdom. All apostles have seen the lord and this defined their personal lives and molded their sprits. All apostles have a cross section of voluntary followers, more than a local congregation, who have benefitted from that apostles and have functional relationship with them. Apostles are counselors to to other ministries and investors into emerging ministries. These gifts are attracted to Apostles because they know the Apostle will know how to place them and how to make them grow into the gift they are to be. The main thing to realize is Apostles are given to bring order, establish churches or ministries, and bring out the other ministry gifts. They carry resurrection life and apostolic grace that sets them apart. They are given to the whole body of Christ and so are trans-local. They travel by themselves and with prophets. Every apostle has something of significance they are apostling.
Has been commissioned, ordained, and sent with purpose and mission
- Pioneers and risk takers
- Carries the spirit of resurrection and reformation — brings life and spiritual flow
- Depend on God’s approval and not mans.
- Set things in order and maintains spiritual flow
- Minister out of their experience and not out of their head. They pull people out of their comfort zone
- Ahead of their time — visionaries
- Attracts other ministry gifts
- They produce like minded sons and daughters of the same faith
- Apostles draw other gifts to them, train them, and then release them into ministry.
- Have unique spiritual authority in the body of Christ and over territories
- Apostles have a specific assignment. One of the most distinguishing marks of Apostles is the ability to embrace all other ministry Gifts.
Attributes of an Apostle
- Teacher and preacher of the Word
- Spiritual Gifts – flow in all gifts
- Deep personal experience
- Ability to establish churches or ministries
- Spiritual leadership
- Are sent by the Holy Ghost
- Father figure – spiritually mature
- Broad oversight – vision of body as a whole
- Walk in spiritual authority
- Called to a region or a people
- Have the ability to draw other gifts to them
- Have heart for the people
- Are a spiritual covering – cover other gifts
- Have patience
- Signs and Wonders follow them
- Mighty deeds
- Have vision for the church
- Labor night and day
- Look upon self as Father and congregation as children
- They are taught by God
- They minister in the power of God, not the wisdom of men
- Their fruit manifests the living God
- They lead by Christ’s example
- They please God, not men
- They don’t flatter men
- They are gentle with the saints
- They are holy, righteous, and blameless
- They exhort, comfort, and chasten as necessary
- Their glory is the glorious church
- They endure hardship and persecution for the church’s sake
This is not an all inclusive teaching on this subject and has been brief on purpose. There are many resources to draw from on this topic and these are just some guidelines to help people start brining definition.