Like the thumb, the finger that allows us to grasp things, apostles are pioneers and builders who are gifted in establishing and upholding churches, ministries and movements. Although we tend to think of prophets as those who can foretell the future, an wider understanding of prophetic ministry would be those who are gifted in carrying words of God for His people.
In 1 Corinthians 14, the gift of prophecy is for upbuilding, encouragement and consolation. Like the forefinger that points the way, prophetic ministry involves giving direction and correction. One of the better known roles of ministry would be the evangelist — the messenger who proclaims the good news and welcomes people to join the flock. Represented by the finger that extends furthest, evangelists are gifted in outreach ministry.
Everyone is tasked with evangelising to those not yet in the family of God, but evangelists are particularly strong in the area of preaching and witnessing — with a passion for winning others over to become followers of Jesus Christ. Those with a pastoral inclination are faithful caregivers and parental figures, consistently guiding those under their ministry to places of sustenance, growth, safety and rest. Last but not least, teaching is the gift of passing on knowledge and training others to apply their gifts well.
Teachers, trainers and mentors do a lot of unseen work, but like the little finger, their job is critical to the flourishing of disciples of Jesus Christ, Himself referred to as rabbi , or teacher John Frank, thanks for addressing the question of focusing on gifts in organic church.
In such a situation, I would think backing off on the gifts would be quite healthy. On the other hand, where I witnessed gifts being brought out in a seemingly healthy way was where the majority of folks came from a less-gifts-focused tradition like Conservative Baptists. Just curious what your thoughts are on that angle, thanks. Luke just talks about people doing certain things and uses verbs to describe it. In my next book which comes out in April of next year, I give a chapter to the ministry of the Spirit and tell a story in more depth of two groups coming together.
I alluded to it here. That may help more on this. I thought well Paul gave those lists because out of experience thats the patterns he has seen, as opposed to he received this list from heaven then tried to fit everyone into those roles. I also think that once someone gets a label its like they must operate in that gifiting at all times, it can become a burden as opposed to something we just see flowing from their life at various times. I would like to hear more descriptives and stories of how giftings manifest organically.
Maybe thats covered in one of your books in depth or maybe its more of a case of us hopefully experiencing organic body life and seeing it in action, though thats easier said than done. Else filters start operating all over the place. We discussed this not too long ago in fact, but we were simply describing a open meeting under the Headship of Jesus.
Can an existing church congregation with a history of tradition make the shift? Have you ever seen it happen? You have to understand, to have the real thing, the clergy has to get out of the way leave and someone s need to come in to equip the saints who know how to do that and are called to it. But I go into the cost attached to it. So the labels can be tricky here. I enjoyed this a lot, Frank. Frank, This is an excellent article! Honoring has less to do with titles and more to do with how you express the love of God to others.
Frank, I thank Father God for you.
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Your books and writings have made my transition easier. Bless you, my brother in Christ! Great article, Frank. Quite the opposite! This is a great post, Frank. Paul names them all in Ephesians 4. This has the feel of being very limiting to the creativity of the Spirit to me. Rebecca: I resonate with what you heard in the summer of There must be practical handles given. Thanks also for the clarification on the argument re: Pagan Christianity. And I fully agree with that sentiment. But I suspect we disagree on the details.
But if folks can see that these things have no root in the NT, then the second point is far easier to grasp and digest. First I love the post. It is a great distilled recap on Reimagining Church which I devoured with great slurping noises. It is perfect world. Imperfect world. I throw a couple of pieces of red meat out here. I am never ceased to be amazed by the creative, uncanny, weird, unnatural, inexplainable, supernatural, mystifying, incredible things the Holy Spirit does in the Body of Christ. Despite our imperfection and historic dysfunction.
Five Fold Ministry And How to Relate To Your Apostle
Even in the first century amongst Apostles. The Bible is full beginning to end of the record of God laying down the law, and His children doing just the opposite, and He despite little or no help from us, getting it done despite through imperfect obstinate vessels. It is not whats important, IMO. God sets the standard for doing it as Frank has laid out.
It should look pretty close to that.
Five fold ministry
Will it? Probably not?
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But should it? Does God do it that way every time? He gets a big kick out of being sovereign once in a while. Lets avoid being pedantic and just get the job done. Frank, Thanks for going deep and not giving this topic a simple response. As you and I have discussed I believe we need to shoot the Clergy- Laity distinction before true organic can be birthed. Be blessed keep wrting and I will keep promoting! Blessings, jose. Thanks for the tag. Interesting thoughts and helpful snapshot of history of doctrines of five-fold ministry.
Frank, I do have a question for you, based on your experience in organic church. One thing I saw promote every member functioning in a slightly more traditional setting is helping each person become more self-aware of their gifts, for example, using inventories or questionnaires. Others were quite good, just like personality profiles are, when they captured some of the subtleties behind the essence of each gift. I can imagine both dangers and benefits in an organic setting. And the gifts, functions, ministries, etc. The parable of the centipede works here. When it gets its eyes on it legs, it becomes paralyzed.
But when it looks ahead and just walks, it moves and makes progress. Gifts are like utensils. Christ is the substance.
What you have written makes a lot of sense to me but I do have some questions. When we center on Christ what does that mean? Do we center on the Christ that fellowshipped with harlots and tax collectors and was called a drunkard? Do we center on the Christ who was concerned for the oppressed? Do we center on the reigning overcoming Christ that has put the whole world to rights already?
What I see is this….