Good Morning Brothers…
Last week we made the case that the evangelist is the “tip of the spear”, but the spear is made up of all 5 ministerial gifts outlined by the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 4, verses 7 through 16. I hope you had the chance to go online and take the survey found at fivefoldsurvey.com. If you did, the survey would provide you with a list of the spiritual gifts and their interpretation of which ones are more prevalent within you…based on your answers. Now please understand, I am not holding this survey up as doctrine, or the gospel truth, but it communicates a ‘truth’ to us that is lacking amongst the church body as a whole. It communicates that all mankind is born with certain qualities that are God given to serve Him. It communicates that we are indeed “fearfully and wonderfully made” and “created in His image”. The survey hammers home the point that we are indeed born with a purpose and God doesn’t create junk. We are precious, we are necessary, we are not accidents that God has to deal with.
A source of great confusion is the words themselves:
In our vocabulary we identify these words as ‘titles’. My wife is a teacher at the local middle school, this is her title, or occupation. This is NOT what these words mean. These words are descriptions of your ministerial gifts, or the gifts you are given to minister with. These words are more vocational than they are occupational. Although my wife’s occupation is ‘teacher’, her vocation is ‘pastor’. In other words, these ‘ministerial gifts’ reveal God’s plan for the individual to serve within the overall body of the Church. My wife has a “pastor’s heart” for her students and the men and women she comes in contact with. She empathizes with the people God places in her path and prays constantly for them. She reaches out and is constantly trying to bring healing and love to all of those situations. Occupationally she is a teacher, vocationally she is a pastor. What is very interesting is that nobody taking the survey will score a “zero” in any of the categories. All of the gifts are within us but some are more natural than others. I must point out, what we think of as natural…is truly supernatural.
An ‘evangelist’ is somebody who loves to talk about Jesus. No matter the conversation they can bring it back around to the gospel message. Evangelists relish their opportunities to spend time with non-Christians and enjoy planting the seeds of truth at every opportunity. Typically extroverts, ‘evangelists’ may be employed in numerous different occupations using their gifts as a people person, but vocationally, they are all about adding names to the book of life.
An ‘apostle’ is somebody who is visionary and provides direction. They see the big picture and are adept at putting together strategic plans that address the situation as a whole. Change does not scare them and they get an energy boost when pushing into new territory. Challenges appear to them as puzzles to be worked out and solved. ‘Apostles’ may be extroverts or introverts, but relish their time alone to seek the will of the Lord and to put that plan into action.
A ‘prophet’ is somebody who can see between the lines. They have the ability to see the plan as a whole, yet see the individual fibers and predict roadblocks and potential pitfalls. While the ‘apostle’ sees an overall strategy, the ‘prophet’ sees the tactics within the overall strategy. Typically introverted, a ‘prophet’ spends a lot of time alone with the Lord seeking His presence. This time in the presence of the Almighty results in the ‘prophets’ ability to forth-tell, or bring to light revelations from the Lord.
A ‘pastor’ is somebody who shepherds God’s people. They are primarily concerned with the anguish, hurt, and pain endured by mankind. Their heart bleeds for their flock and they are constantly attuned to the spiritual needs of the people. Either extroverted or introverted, their recognizable attribute is the mercy, grace, and love that oozes out of them. Their shoulder is always available, a prayer is always on their lips, their arms are always ready to embrace those in need of comfort.
A ‘teacher’ is somebody who enlightens and educates. They are constantly looking for additional methods to teach truth. Analogies, stories, and pictures are all methods used by teachers to further the education of God’s people. The importance of Scripture cannot be understated for any of these vocations, but especially for the ‘teacher’. Typically extroverted, a ‘teacher’ enjoys the time spent preparing but relishes the time spent teaching.
Based on the descriptions above, we can see why the Church needs all of these vocations to complete her work of “Follow Me to Go therefore”. Since the Church is made up of individuals called for a corporate purpose, each of us is a small collection of these very same gifts. We can get a sense for God’s plan for the Church by looking at the relationship between the gifts. For example…an ‘apostle’ spends time alone with the Lord seeking His will for the environment and culture he finds himself in, the revealed plan is strategic in nature, it addresses the big picture. This plan is shared with others and the ‘prophets’ begin praying over the plan seeking any revelation needed to move forward. Meanwhile, the ‘pastors’ begin to ascertain the spiritual needs of the congregation if this plan is put in place an implemented. They begin to pray asking the Lord to show them the needs of the people which will be affected by the plan. The ‘evangelists’ immediately see the opportunity to share the gospel message within the overall plan set forth by the ‘apostle’. They begin to pray and are excited by the chance to reach a new people group. The ‘teachers’ analyze the plan and make sure it is Biblical and start to pray seeking wisdom in how to prepare their students to fill the roles created by the plan.
The analogy of the “spear” is intended to point to something. The Church should be targeting the lost and fallen through the plans of the ‘apostle’, and filtering all the way down to the methods of the ‘teacher’. Every step is bathed in prayer because the Holy Spirit is our true guide. Working together, using the ministerial gifts given to us at our birth, guided by the Holy Spirit, we are able to follow Jesus as He teaches us ‘fish for men’ and ‘make disciple of all nations’. The Church should be building and launching spears…if we are not, then we are not a Church.