Posted by: Apostolic Oneness Pentecostals | August 18, 2008

Pentecostal Perspective: Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers. Are you really called or are you just in it for the money?

 

This week, its my goal to discuss the 5 fold ministry AND other forms of ministries one might be called so that everyone can be educated in cyberspace concerning certain callings. As always, I don’t want to assume everyone knows what each title/office means, so I’m going to break down for everyone what each office within the Body of Christ represents. Our focal point will be the scripture from Ephesians 4:11-12 which states “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:”  Below you will find a chart that I have researched concerning each of the offices God has called for these last and evil days:

Ministry Gifts in Ephesians 4:11

  Responsibility Natural Manifestation
Apostle Doctrine and Discipline Enjoys building things: projects, businesses, etc.
Prophet Discern and Proclaim God’s Word. Has a keen (sometimes problematic) sense of Justice.
Evangelist Present the Gospel of Christ to the lost. Enjoys direct contact with people. Most are successful salesmen.
Pastor To care for the everyday needs of the church family Enjoys serving. Loves to have people come to their home.
Teacher Instruct the Church in the practical application of God’s Word. Is able to explain complex issues in a way that even a child can understand.

So now we have a basic understanding of what each office is all about. Now, when we turn on TBN and The Word Network and all these other Christian channels out there, we see that numerous individuals both male and female are now proclaiming these titles yet the large majority of them are finding themselves in the midst of public scandal, ridicule and are making the Christian Church the laughing stock of the world.

 

Lets go back in time for a minute. Do you remember when you were in gym class in elementary school and high school? They use to make everyone dress in scantly clad attire and do things in immodest apparel. Back in the day, you could go to your pastor and ask him to write you a letter to get you out of gym because of your strong convictions and beliefs that a child of God should not be participating in some of the things they had you doing in gym class. Your pastor would write that letter on church letterhead, stamp it and you would take it to your gym teacher or school principal and the school would find something else for you to do out of respect for your pastor and religious views. Fast forwarding to the “new age church” we have so many individuals (Pastors and Ministers) involved with the law (and not law enforcement) that if a pastor even wrote a letter on behalf of your child, the school would laugh at you and basically tell you “HA! You think this is going to get you out of gym? I just saw your Pastor on TV for embezzling money. I just saw your Pastor on the news molesting the very kids he is to protect, I’m not going to follow this piece of paper!” What shame and reproach we have brought on Gods House and His People. Yet you claim you’re called to me a pastor? Yet you claim you can see the future but beg everyone for money to support your ministry (which we find out through the media its really to support your drug habit).

 

I personally am sick and tired hearing these allegations about all these people who are not called into the ministry. Literally prostituting the people of God and causing more hurt than good. Please understand, it’s not everybody. There are some good men and women of God out there who are genuinely called into the ministry to edify and build up the Body of Christ. But I think its time for us to get a clear understanding of what being “called” is all about.

 

How do I know if I am truly called?

The following is taken into consideration (the order does not reflect the order of importance):

  • Educational preparedness
  • Experiential preparedness
  • Ministerial and evangelical preparedness
  • Personal (maybe subconscious) motivations
  • Relational affirmations of family and friends
  • Wise counsel of trusted mature Christians
  • Leadership of the Holy Spirit
  • Prayer (What is God continuing to say to me? Am I still on track?)
  • The Word of God confirming all
  • Health issues and necessary preferences
  • Language skills and capacity to learn
  • Cross-cultural readiness and flexibility
  • Desires of my heart (be careful on this one)
  • Is now the right time to go overseas? (Concerning missionaries or starting churches overseas like one mother church in Brooklyn and a daughter work in Africa just as an example.)
  • Couples: are you both sensing the same calling?

How do I know what God wants me to do?

* Pray for discernment. If God has a specific (or more general) task for you, he’ll lay it on your heart. Spend time in prayer asking, and if God has something special in mind, he may just be waiting for you to ask. Ask.

Some deny that God communicates in this way, and I can only say that I’m sorry they’ve never experienced it. Maybe if they were to ask in faith they’d learn otherwise.

* Ask yourself what you’re good at.

You may be like Gideon or Moses and not feel up to what God wants out of you–and so it’s good to ask Godly people what they see in you, too. Many churches do gifts assessments, and part of a good program is to have others in the class tell you what they think you’re good at. Many people are surprised at what they’re told!

* You may have to train for the task given you. You may be gifted to teach but need training in Bible study or lesson preparation. Don’t confuse lack of preparation with the absence of a gift.
* It’s easy to fool yourself. I know people who feel they are called to teach, but they have NO gift of teaching. God gifts those he calls.

Seek outside advice to be sure you haven’t turned a personal wish into a mission from God.

Gifted people generally enjoy using their gifts. But some few people enjoy things they are very poor at. Ask an honest person.

* You may need help from others (Moses needed Aaron). Don’t be afraid to recruit others to help–God doesn’t necessarily call you to go it alone. Jesus sent his missionaries out two by two. He gave Gideon a small army. Paul traveled with a group of missionaries.

* Don’t be afraid of pushing for things outside your or the church’s comfort zone. Sometimes God wants a change.

* On the other hand, never, ever despise the ordinary.

(Luke 9:4 Then he said to them, “Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For he who is least among you all–he is the greatest.”

Simply caring for a child can be the Lord’s calling. My wife oversees our cradle roll class on Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights. She recruits and trains the teachers. She prepares the lessons. She buys the toys she uses as props. It’s a gift, an obsession–and it’s a calling.

* Pray a lot. If you feel God has something in mind for you, then you aren’t through praying. Rather, like Jesus, it’s time to get serious about your prayer life.

* Expect to have a hard time at times. Paul got beaten, shipwrecked, rejected … . Pharaoh didn’t listen to Moses. David was nearly killed by Saul and spent years in the wilderness before he took the throne. Be patient. Persevere.

* Study hard to be sure what you’re doing is true to the word. God never calls you to violate his word.
* Some among us will never accept the idea that God is alive and active today by any means other than his word. It’s tragic that some think this way, as they miss out on so many blessings. Don’t worry about it. Just do what you’re supposed to do.

* And if at times you feel a little driven–even obsessed–even when you can’t figure out your next step or things are going badly. Well, that’s very likely the Spirit pushing. Let him push.

(Gal. 5:25) Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.

* Oh, and did I mention that it’s important to pray? That’s really important.

Common Misconceptions:

God wants pre-conceived ideas about His ministry – to come to a halt! For example, to show an extreme teaching of the gift of a prophet, it is taught that the role of the prophet is like certain Old Testament prophets who “tell it like it is”. In other words a prophet becomes unpopular and even offensive but will declare judgment in truth. The teaching will even give permission to be rude and contentious for the sake of truth. It is never the wisdom of God to categorize what a prophet will say or how he may say it. The gift of a prophet is very simple; he is simply a forerunner of standing in the counsel of God concerning certain truth and is then equipped and responsible to speak forth this counsel. Soon as you say that it has to be spoken a certain way or it has to be a certain truth – you are missing it. The true prophet will only tell what he hears in the counsel of God that is revealed IN SCRIPTURE.

The true prophet fears God and trembles every time he handles the scriptures and yet speaks as an oracle of God with authority. Since there is NO OFFICE OF PROPHET, only a gift of prophet, there is no office authority. There is not church government concerning a prophet. However there is authority for prophets concerning the authority of the message being presented. A prophet in itself is a gift with no authority but when you speak what God has said then all of heaven stands behind that word. That is why a prophet speaks with authority when God commissions him. The false prophet will be cocky and that is the perversion of authority. The false prophet speaks what he hasn’t heard and exerts authority not given to him. Paul had authority because of the apostolic word that was with him not because of a position of authority. Scripturally examine how Paul talked with churches that he fathered in the faith such as the Corinthian Church. He did not come to correct them as a boss, he corrected them with pleadings of the truth. This truth can make one tremble because it contains Jesus’ authority but for those that do not accept truth it has no authority to change. Examine how Paul exercised the authority of the gift and yet he possessed no church government office. Church government in the early church yielded to the authority of the gift by producing fruit of repentance.

A mature prophet will rarely tell you of their supernatural experiences. For example, if they went to heaven, you will know little of it. Why? The fear of God in them cannot afford to bring attention to anyone other than Jesus. The prophet knows the revelation of Jesus and His words are the subject matter. The prophet knows that telling the people of their great visitation can manipulate. The mature prophet simply fears God in these areas. Many of today’s prophets know little of this type of fear and humility. They are not forerunners until they do.

True Church Government

Wisdom dictates that in this subject we must not put God in a box and say “this is a pastor” and “this is a prophet” and if one does not match up with the described way of what a prophet is and does, then he must not be a prophet. This type of thinking will keep you in the dark about what God is doing concerning His 5-fold ministry gifts of ministry. To cause you to break out of the mentality that the 5-fold ministry gifts of Ephesians are church government positions – consider this. You can have a gift of a shepherd (pastor) and yet never be called to church government as a superintendent or deacon of a church. In other words you can have this gift and never be what we call in today’s English a pastor/bishop or deacon of a church. If you were to have a shepherd (pastor) gift you could function in that gift through writing, traveling ministry, or any other way of expressing that gift that God calls you to. However, we do have scriptures that say that superintendents (bishops) have a gift of shepherding. Jesus is called in 1 Peter the superintendent (bishop) AND shepherd (pastor) of our heart – thereby linking the two together; BUT THIS IS NOT EXCLUSIVE. The role of feeding the flock and being overseers is given to elders in 1Peter. The elders are church government and I see them as not separate in the scriptures from superintendents and deacons but instead elders are comprised of both superintendents (bishops) and deacons. The church has a lot to learn about true church government and I see things returning to the order that is witnessed in the days when Peter was an elder.

Our terminology has been confusing concerning church government and ministry. I use the word superintendent instead of the word bishop for good reason. The KJV uses the word “bishop” to describe the church government position that in most churches is called pastor (but pastor is simply a gift not an office). The Greek word for bishop is more closely related to our English word “superintendent”. What is important is what the word means to the general public, the un-churched that we are trying to reach. What does the word bishop mean to them? It is defined by years of what the Catholic Church has showed by example. When they hear the word they think of religious garments and rituals of the organization. Therefore this becomes the current definition instead of the activity of superintending the house of God. What does the word pastor mean to the public? Much of the time it is defined as the head of a church that stands behind a pulpit as though he is the CEO or president of that organization. In reality the word “pastor” is translated shepherd every time except in Ephesians. Pastoring is a gifting and not an office, position, activity or a head of a church. We confuse the world with our titles and terminology. I am not saying to abandon all titles and the terminology of pastor and bishop, though God may require this of you at some time; I am saying we must demonstrate to the world true church government by not intermingling gifts with positions

What about those who do not have 5-fold ministry gifts?

Keep in mind; there are those who have an exclusive calling to the five-fold “gift ministry” and God calls  them to fulfill a constant role in the context of the gift. However, there is no one in the body that is excluded from being a minister. If you become mature in Jesus Christ – you will be a minister, period. When you open your mouth at work, at home, or school, you are ministering something. Proverbs has much to say about that which we speak, it produces life or death; it produces gold or wood. To see what we are talking about, observe how Paul teaches in Timothy and Titus about the qualifications of bishops (Greek – superintendents) and deacons (ministry servants); in a strict sense these two offices belong to these specific callings and they refer to church government only, however in God’s application we should all receive and walk in these sayings.

 

 

This weeks lesson was pretty wordy and I apologize however I know without a shadow of a doubt, someone is going to stumble on my blog and realize what callings they truly possess within the body of Christ. I hope and pray that my words this week have not fallen on death ears, but will be received with gladness as we all strive to please Jesus and His Church.

 

 

 

 


Responses

  1. Dear Brother in Christ,
    Greetings in His matchless name who is befotton son and crucified for all of us on the cross and raise from the dead. Amen
    Dear Brother It is very little introduction of mine in this message if you will response me and mail me. I shall write you and send all that we are serving for the glory of His kingdom in the land of Pakistan and sowing seed of the Gospel in their hearts according to the will of God.
    Dear Brother Our Ministerial work is to invite the Pastors and Evangelists here in Pakistan for harvesting in the field of the Lord. Here are great number of oppertunities for those want to sow and harvest for Him.
    what do we do for them?
    We arrange the seminars, Pastor training workshops, sunday school teachers training and Healing and Revival Crusades for His name’s glory
    We hope and optimist in His name that you will replay us soon for His name’s glory and winning the souls for the kingdom of the God. Amen

    Yours truely Brother in Christ Body
    Evangelist Khadim Patras Mal

  2. Dear Brother
    All the Faith full those have been spreading the message of the gospel in the outreaches of the world are the parts of one body. But how the body distrube if it got problem in other part or feel pain in it but it awfull that we are part of one body but feeling the pain of the other christains in the world. As the Muslims they feel this pain and attacked the christians in Pakistan either Americans attacked in Afghanistan or in Iraq or Iran. They started to tease the christian here in Pakistan even many times the millitants burnts the churches and even the people alive as they did in Gojar with out any solid reason and Government of Pakistan and Law and Order Agencies fully involed in that case. But why we are feeling the sufferings of the Christ Body Parts and not support them morally even.
    Please spread My this message all the christian men and women and Evangelists and Pastors of the world Please please become the one unit in christ Jesus as the God Father and Son and the Holy spirit Amen

    Preach this Truth all the world and Contact to Evangelist Khadim for sowing this seed more and more as we gather for HIs kingdom Amen


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