Wednesday, April 06, 2005

the church part five

The five fold ministries and how they relate to the church.

One of the problems we see in the church in its modern structure is the over elevation of the position of pastor teacher. In Ephesians chapter four Paul explains how things are designed to work.

11It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13until 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.

14Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. 15Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. 16From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

So in the beginning the church recognized the roles of certain people in the church that were gifts to the church rather than the world. These are commonly called the five fold ministries. Apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor teachers. When the church was a loosely connected grass roots movement all of these were in operation. While this was going on we find 120 people in the upper room, turns into over a million people in only three hundred years. But what happens when Constantine "unites and establishes" the church, is these roles radically changed, and some became unnecessary. The role of pastor teacher became the primary roles as the state already establishes the church, and the heirarchy of the church directs it, therefore the only real necessary role becomes the maintaining role of pastor and teacher.

Lets look at the the roles:


In our modern times we have deified the role of apostle. There is a difference between the 12, and the office of apostle. The original "job" of the apostle was to create communities of faith where none existed. The word apostle was messenger, the messenger was to bring the gospel to places where it was not before given. In modern times the persons called to be apostles wind up becoming frustrated in the church as they are usually forced to become pastors. SO they start churches and wind up stuck in the role of maintaining them, which is not their primary giftings. They will usually find more comfortable ministry as missionaries, or wind up being entrepreneurs in the business world.

If we are to reclaim our missionary edge we must reclaim the role of apostle, take away the mystical fear of it, and allow these gifts to the body to function.

The Prophet

the prophets were those that brought about correction, and gave direction to the body as a whole. In modern times men like Tony Campolo would be prophets. They call us to areas of ministry that are being neglected, they stand against heresy, and the give us direction. The new testement prophets are not called to be "the voice of God" as we are all now filled with the spirit and able to hear and be moved by God. However, the church is in need of these men to challenge and correct us.

The evangelist

Todays evangelist like Billy Graham and Greg Laurie, have focused on conversion, and in that they have been very effective. However as they are by and large seperated from the church, no matter how hard they try to include the church in their crusades, wind up having only 5 percent of their converts going on to sustained walks with God. In the origins of the church the evangelists were those that were able to translate the gospel within the culture they found themselves in. They would take the cultural traits that would open the people to the gospel, and use these openings to lead people to faith in Christ.

The offices of pastor and teacher were designed to help grow the church.

One of the biggest issues in our consumeristic society is that we have forgotten that these five ministries are designed to equip the rest of the body for the work of ministry. Instead of allowing them to do the ministry, or indeed paying them to do them, the church is called to do the ministry, having been equipped by these gifts to the church.

If we are to make the shift to a grass roots missional movement, that was our beginning, we will have to once again accept these ministries, and release them.

the rev

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