Five Thoughts on the Five-Fold Ministry

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.

What Is the Purpose of the 5-Fold Ministry? by Felicity Dale

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.

The Reign of God by Len at Next Reformation

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.

Apostolic Leaders, Churches, and Five-Fold Ministries by Bob Robers Jr.

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.

Missional Communities Led by Five-Fold Ministries by Mike Breen

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.

Signs of Immature Five-Fold Ministries  by Mike Breen

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.

Thanks to Ben Sutherland for Rouault’s Christ and the Apostles, Phantom Leap for Seer, Boliston for Birmingham Street Preacher, Jake Liefer for Pastor Garrison, and Stock.XCHNG for Professor at Work.

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About traviskolder

Travis Kolder is a follower of Jesus, a husband, a father of five, an organic church planter, and a writer. He lives in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where he serves as part of the Cedar Rapids House Church Network.

3 responses to “Five Thoughts on the Five-Fold Ministry”

  1. seanhughley says :

    Good resources in this post dude! Really dig the new layout too!

  2. francisdrakeprivateer says :

    Most church leaders would claim themselves to be operating in at least one of the 5 fold ministries. Modesty usually limits their choice of title to evangelist, pastor, or teacher, as the risk of calling oneself a prophet or apostle is obviously far greater.
    I would however challenge this assumption on probably the simplest and most basic of measures. ie. if they were really operating under one of these anointings, then their success rate would accord to the clear measure given us in scripture.

    Whichever tag they take, the measure surely has to be taken against the job description in Ephesians4v12.

    “….for the perfecting of the saints for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ……….”

    So, does the man’s hard work produce such vibrant FUNCTIONING results, or does it stagnate the body.

    To me, if a Pastor is still standing at the front, ministering to much the same congregation, with much the same sort of stuff that he has done year in, year out, for the last few years, then, -he has failed! FAILED.
    No matter how big his congregation or how charismatic his ministry, the results according to verse12 are what counts.

    Any minister, leading a church, is supposed to prepare THEM for the work of the ministry, not keep bottle feeding them year in, year out.

    Sadly most ministers subscribe to the vision of hierarchical church, with them at the top, which of course prevents the true maturing of the congregation.
    If he was truly maturing the congregation, then that congregation would get up, get out, and get on with the job, and not sit passively UNDER him.

    • traviskolder says :

      Hi Francis

      Thanks for the comment! I think you’re right on this…the perfecting of all of the saints for the work of ministry is the function of legitimate five-fold giftings. I actually believe that you need all five of these ministries functioning to some degree in the midst of a body to see the body of Christ rise to maturity like Ephesians 4 talks about. The reality is that many giftings are stifled on a regular basis through misunderstanding and mistrust. IThe best thing we can do is make room for the humble expressions of all of these ministries. When they are given room to operate as Jesus directs them to, maturity will be the result.

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