How should the church be structured? Are any structures given in scripture? The Five-Fold Ministry is one such structure. Yahweh gave to the church, both corporate and local, the five-fold ministry. Ephesians 4:11, tells us that He gave us Apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers. The five-fold ministries represents "the hand of God" in the church today. This is the hand that performs the work that He desires in this world today. Are you looking for the hand of Yahweh? You can find it in any local church. Each of the ministries represents a finger and together all five creates the hand. The purpose of the five-fold Ministry is found in Ephesians 4:11: To perfect the saints, to identify, equip and involve the saints in the work of the ministry To edify the body of Christ The five-fold ministry will remain in place until: We all come in the unity of the faith We all have knowledge of the Son of God We all become a perfect man unto the stature of the fullness of Christ The five fold ministry will help us to stop being like children, forever changing our minds about what we believe because someone has told us something different or has cleverly lied to us and made the lie sound like the truth. God has set five senses in the human body for the protection and care of the body. So he has set five ministries as the spiritual senses of the body of Christ for its protection and care.
The five-fold ministry gifts are examples of how "grace has been given as Christ apportioned it" (Ephesians 4:7). All ministry is simply the ministry of Christ expressed through the believer by the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Christ is our Apostle (Hebrews 3:1), Prophet (Luke 24:19), Evangelist (Matthew 9:35), Pastor (1 Peter 5:2-4) and Teacher (John 3:2). Every ministry - including that of the five-fold - is an extension of the ministry of Christ Himself. The five-fold ministry are not self-commissioned, nor are they simply leaders of a church. They are clearly defined ministries that have an impact on the Church as a whole. By nature, their scope of ministry is wider than a local church. They are ministries-at-large. Two things are required for a five-fold ministry gift to come into its own:
1. The Apostle
An apostle is "one chosen and sent with a special commission." The 12 apostles chosen by Jesus were witnesses of the resurrection (Acts 1:15; 4:33), but there were many other true apostles (Acts 14:3-4; Romans 16:7; 1 Corinthians 15:5-7; Galatians 1:1,19), as well as false ones (2 Corinthians 11:13-15; Revelation 2:2). The ministry of an apostle includes pioneering new churches (1 Corinthians 9:2; 1 Corinthians 3:6), grounding the Church in truth (Colossians 1:25), preserving unity in the Body (1 Corinthians 3:3-5), laying foundations in the Church (1 Corinthians 3:10), setting things in order (Titus 1:5), fostering a vision beyond the local (2 Corinthians 8), fathering new ministries (2 Timothy 1:6) and a breakthrough-type ministry of miracles (2 Corinthians 12:12).
The Apostolic ministry is considered the thumb of the hand. It is the only finger that can touch the others. Among the many purpose of the Apostolic Ministry, one is to set the house in order (1Cor.11: 34) and to provide proper government and procedures in the house of Yahweh. Indeed all things must be done decently and in order. This area of our ministry is responsible to ensure that our work is efficiently operated complying with the Biblical and governmental requirements and guidelines.
2. The Prophet
The ministry of the prophet involves being "moved by the Holy Spirit" (2 Peter 1:21) in prophetic utterance, which can be:
- Predictive (Acts 21:10-11; 11:27-28)
- Directive (Acts 13:1-3)
- Corrective (Acts 15:22-23,27,32)
There is such a thing, however, as a false prophet (1 John 4:1), and so God sets clear guidelines:
- Prophecies should be time-tested (Acts 11:28).
- The words of a prophet are judged by church leadership (1 Cor.14:29).
- Any prophecy should be confirmed independently (2 Corinthians 13:1).
- Any prophecy should line up with Scripture, "the sure word of prophecy" (2 Peter 1:19-21).
The prophet operates best in teamwork with the apostle (eg. Paul and Silas). A prophet is not just someone with a prophetic anointing, but a recognized ministry to the Body at large. Note there are three levels of prophecy: the word of prophecy - limited to "strengthening, encouraging and comfort" (1 Corinthians 14:3,31); the spirit of prophecy on a group (1 Samuel 10:10) and the ministry of the prophet (1 Corinthians 12:28-29). All believers are encouraged to move in words of prophecy, but only a prophet should exercise the authority of predictive, directive and corrective prophecy, and even then only within clear protective guidelines.
If there are Pastors and Evangelist today their must be prophets today. Yes prophets are part of the five-fold ministry. Yes there are saints in the body of Christ that have the gift of Prophecy or that occupy the office of the Prophet. They forth tell and fore tell. Their prophecies, whether in word or in song, can be judged by the Prophecy of Scripture which is infallible. This ministry is designed to create a climate that encourages Yahweh's people to prophesy. God's people should use this gift to edify, exhort and comfort each other. This ministry is also responsible to record prophetic utterance, safe guarding God's word less it should fall to the ground.
3. The Evangelist
Evangelists extend the frontiers of Yahweh's Kingdom (see the ministry of Philip in Acts 6:3-7; 8:5-40; 21:8). They are co-workers with and extensions of apostolic ministry (2 Timothy 4:5; 1 Thessalonians 3:2). Who will go and whom shall I send? This question is still being asked today. Someone needs to publish the good news. Someone needs to bring joy to our cities like Philip the evangelist did to Samaria by preaching there. Thank God for the Evangelist! The reaper, the gatherer, the preacher, the fire lighter, the flame igniter and yes, a part of the Five Fold Ministry. Our motto here at Calvary is "Come to Calvary the way to God." We desire that all men should come to Calvary. For this to happen we must do the work of an evangelist. We must Go. We must tell everyone.
4. The Pastor
A pastor is not simply a leader over a local church, but has a Body-wide expression of ministry. As one of the five-fold ministry, a pastor is, in present terminology, more accurately a "pastor of pastors" or a "pastor of elders" beyond the local body. A pastor's emphasis in ministry is in relationship networking.
The Greek word for pastor poimen means "one to tends sheep or cares for flocks" (read 1 Peter 5:1-4; John 21:15-17). But this word is used only in Ephesians 4:11. Elsewhere in the New Testament, other words are used: "shepherd", "elder" and "overseer". This is significant, so a comparison of these ministries should be made. Thank God for Pastors given by God according to his own heart to feed us with knowledge and understanding.
5. The Teacher
How is knowledge to be imparted to the body of Christ? Hosea 4:6 declares that "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee"... The only way to impart Knowledge to God's people is to teach. Exod 24:12...And the LORD said unto Moses, Come up to me into the mount, and be there: and I will give thee tables of stone, and a law, and commandments which I have written; that thou mayest teach them. Deut 6:7...And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. The great commission called for us to teach Matt 28:19-20 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. Yahweh's people must be taught. They must be empowered by knowledge. Here at Calvary our teaching time is important.
We realize that man cannot live by bread alone but by every word that proceed from the mouth of God.
A teacher is not just someone who teaches (we are all encouraged to teach - Colossians 3:16), but is a ministry who brings instruction to the Body at large (note the "watering" ministry of Apollos in Acts 18:24-28; 1 Corinthians 3:2-10). Only when the ministries of Ephesians 4:11 begin functioning as God intended - both as individual ministries and as apostolic teams - will the purpose of their joint ministry be fulfilled.