One of the most misunderstood aspects of the church as God designed it is the place of the five-fold ministry. God has designed the body of Christ so that it builds itself up in love. An important part of that process is mature five-fold gifts functioning in and amongst the body of Christ in a mature way. But many have misunderstood the purpose and functions of different aspects of these gifts.
Because of the importance of these ministries, I’ve assembled some of the best posts on the five-fold ministry that I’ve found on various blogs. These are written by men and women with experience with people who have functioned in these gifts. These are my top five posts. Feel free to leave a link to your favorite post on this topic in the comment section.
Felicity gives us a great post to introduce us to the idea of the five-fold ministry and right off the bat she combats the major misconceptions about these gifts God gives the church. This is a short post but many people miss the profound implications that are found within it.
Len’s thoughts on a quote from An Ethic for Christians and Other Aliens in a Strange Land don’t directly mention the five-fold ministry. But he does touch on an interesting idea: The Kingdom of God is extended by Jesus as He gives these gifts to the church for the world. Read on to see more.
I love this post by Bob Roberts. Bob really brings a very balanced perspective to the whole issue of the five-fold ministry. I love that his insights are born out of his work in the non-Western world and I’m greatly encouraged on his emphasis on the whole church becoming apostolic, and not just one man.
Mike does a great job in this post of describing what a missional community will look like if it is lead by each of the five-fold ministries. While not entirely the same as a house church, I’ve noticed similar group dynamics in house churches led by each of these different ministry gifts. You may learn a few things about why you lead your house church the way you do from this post.
Last but not least, this post is extremely helpful because it identifies characteristics of immature people with five-fold giftings. Many times we reject five-fold minstries because of our negative experiences with the immature versions of five-fold ministries. This frank discussion about the downside of immature five-fold ministries will help those who have had negative experiences. It’s also really helpful to those maturing in these gifts because it highlights weaknesses they will need to address.
Photo Credit: This image is a product of five pictures representing each of the five-fold ministries.
It’s no secret around here that I strongly believe in having all of the gifts described in Ephesians 4:7-11 functioning in a body of believers. To that end, I’ve developed a little test to help you, yes YOU, determine what your “five-fold” or APEST gifting is. Are you ready?
If you are living on a mission from Jesus and fathering others…. you are a Christian.
If you hear God’s voice well enough to declare it to others…. you are a Christian.
If you love to tell lost people about Jesus and have success in making disciples…. you are a Christian.
If you love and care for God’s people on an intimate level…. you are a Christian.
If you know how to teach in a way that gives people understanding of Jesus and His purposes…. (Say it with me everyone!) you are a Christian.
If you are equipping other believers to live on mission and father others….or if you are training other believers to hear God’s voice…or if you are equipping younger believers to reach their friends….or you are giving other believers the skills to care for hurting believers….or you are helping believers teach others….well….you get the idea.
But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift.
Therefore it says,
‘When he ascended on high he led a host of captives,
and he gave gifts to men.’
(In saying, “He ascended,” what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower regions, the earth? He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.) And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ… Ephesians 4:7-13