Ask The Chaplain

Ask The Chaplain

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

What are the 5-fold Ministry Gifts?

The Five-fold Ministry Gifts

Apostles are leaders and visionaries... they bring direction to the church. They have the courage and ability to keep the Church moving forward, growing, building in new directions. Apostles are also fathers, able to nurture and disciple the other ministry giftings. They have maturity and experience beyond their fellows and can give guidance as well as leadership. They wear the Helmet of Salvation, which means they walk "within" salvation. They know the mysteries of Christ's salvation. Such knowledge is only acquired through time and experience, trials and testing. An apostle is proven by his example of holiness and demeanor in Christ Jesus. The Helmet of Salvation is not a royal crown: it is the hat of a warrior general who is accustomed to putting his life on the line, for the sake of the Kingdom of God. Many who are in this office will never be recognized as APOSTLES! The reason is this, when a man is truly led by God to establish a work of any kind, it may bristle against the establishment.

The Apostle Paul is a good example of a man on a “Mission from God”, I laugh as I write this because I am reminded of the movie The Blues Brothers, They were the oddest of odd, yet they went through every obstacle because they believed they had a mandate from God. Listening to God is not easy, it can cause you to be treated like an outsider and at times even a rebel! I believe men that are in the office of Apostle are always MISUNDERSTOOD and treated like oddballs. Based upon scriptural precedence apostles are usually the recipients of dreams and visions, Apostles receive an abundance of Revelation from God, Why? They establish ministries and churches. It is quite possible to be an Apostle and NEVER pastor a church.
Contrary to popular belief Paul WAS NEVER A PASTOR! Paul was a TEACHER/APOSTLE. Now another shocker is that PETER was not a PASTOR either, the PASTOR of the church in Jerusalem was JAMES (The Lord’s Brother); Peter was an EVANGELIST/APOSTLE. Apostles usually carry dual roles! Here is another curve for you Barnabas was an Apostle too, but he was a DEACON/APOSTLE his ministry was one of service and support yet he was counted as an APOSTLE! I do believe that there are Apostles today, Men that are SENT to establish works according to God’s divine mandate. Now too many guys are starting storefront churches and calling themselves “Apostle”. Real Apostles don’t run around calling themselves APOSTLE! They know it, and they walk in it!

Prophets/Prophetess has a strong sense of right and wrong, but even more than that: they have a strong sense of the Spirit’s leading. Their spiritual antennae start quivering when things are going off balance or in wrong directions. Their voice is important for keeping the Church on track in what the Lord wants to do. Prophets also understand justice and are defenders of what is fair and right. Prophets carry the Breastplate of Righteousness, which illustrates the passion and conviction that burns deep within their heart and soul and spirit. "Righteousness" is actually an ethereal word, a supernatural word. True righteousness flows only from the throne of God. Therefore, the insight of the prophet is a very mysterious, deep conviction that is not easily described even by those who walk in this gifting. The purpose is for guidance and revelation, so that the church can learn what it means to be the Holy People of God.
The Prophet/Prophetess must maintain a level of personal holiness that is exemplary. The primary purpose of the prophet is to warn the church of apostasy and help saints press into the holiness and purpose of God. (Elijah and Ezekiel) Unlike the Office of Apostle which is male ordered, Women can function in this office as well as men. (Deborah, Huldah, and Phillip’s Daughters)

The Prophet must have an extraordinary prayer life, If you study the life the Biblical prophet they were often solitary people. (Elijah and Jeremiah) They didn’t have a lot of friends, this is on purpose! God needs those in the prophetic office to be focused on HIM! The Prophet and the Teacher are similar in this regard, Prophets focus on the inspired word (Rhema) and the Teacher more on the written (Logos). But if you look at Acts 17:11 the Bereans understood the importance of both, but they confirmed the Rhema by studying the Logos! Usually God places Prophets and Teachers as friends and companions for this reason.
Teachers build the foundations of the church. They minister in the Word of God and remind us of the priorities and foundations that will keep us stable in our lives. They teach the church how to be wise in the ways of God. Both teachers and prophets have a special gift for worship because the prophet can worship in "spirit" and the teacher can worship in "truth" and those two characteristics are necessary for true worship. Teachers carry the Belt of Truth, which means they have intimate knowledge of Him who is Truth.
Teachers are guardians of Biblical Doctrine (Logos), the Bereans (Acts 17:11) Exemplify the character of a Teacher. Teacher search the scriptures. I am a teacher and I study the Word more than the average person, there are times when I have stayed up all night reading entire books of the Bible because I had to determine if something I heard preached in church was accurate. In many cases Teachers are somewhat cold, in that they care more for truth than unity or peoples feelings. If you remember Paul in Galatians, He read Peter and the Hebrew saints the riot act for the way they allowed the Judaizers to distort the Gospel of Grace. When I hear a sermon that is “off” scripturally it drives me crazy. I believe Teachers are like the Scribes of the Old Testament in that they were determined that every jot and tittle would be correct. Pricilla and Aquilla were teachers and they caught Apollos preaching doctrine that wasn’t correct, they pulled him aside and corrected him in love. If a church doesn’t have the office of a teacher within it’s ranks it is in danger of falling into error. (I Tim. 4:1-4)

Without a proper foundation, buildings don't stand, civilizations don't last, and Christians don't witness well. The foundation I am talking about is the foundation of basic Christian doctrine. Do you know what the Trinity is? How many natures does Jesus have, one or two? Are we saved by grace through faith or by grace and works? For what purpose did Jesus die? Did He rise from the dead? And If so, why? Perhaps you do not believe that knowing doctrine is important. Maybe you think that we should just tell people about Jesus and let them choose to accept Him or not. Unfortunately, witnessing isn't always that simple. Knowing what and why you believe is essential. For example, if someone says he wants to receive Jesus as Savior but doesn't believe that He is God in flesh, is that important? If someone says that the Trinity is not biblical, what would you say? Is the Holy Spirit a force or God? Doctrine is important because it defines who you put your trust in. It is not simply that you have faith, it's who you put your faith in.
Evangelists are the warriors, the foot soldiers who take the gospel to the remote areas of the world. They advance the gospel and in so doing they battle directly with the hindrances of the gospel as well. There are many more warriors in an army than there are generals and so there must be many, many evangelists in the church. Evangelists wear the Shoes of Peace because they bring news of Peace to a world that suffers in strife and turmoil. Every one of the other 5-Fold Ministers MUST do the WORK of the Evangelist, because soul-winning is EVERY minister’s duty!
Too many of our churches have lost sight of the office of Evangelist and have distorted their purpose by calling “Revivalist” Evangelist, there is difference by a mile. An Evangelist is a SOULWINNER first and formost, they go into the streets, prisons, hospitals, and mission fields. Many of the people we call “evangelist” are preaching to people already saved. A revivalist preaches to people already saved to inspire and fire them up, this really more of the ministry of the Prophet, an Evangelist bottom line is REACHING THE LOST and preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The motto of an Evangelist could be a quote from Paul, “Woe unto me if I preach not the Gospel!”
Pastors nurture the flock and comfort them. They build up the sheep in the most holy faith. They tend to the wounded and the sick and have skills for healing. The pastor leads the healthy sheep into good pastures so they will eat well and be strong. And, the pastor looks for the sheep who have wandered away so that none will be lost. Pastors carry the Shield of Faith. Often a warrior was protected by an armorbearer who held his shield for him. In the same way, pastors will shield those who need it until they are strong again. They hover over their flock to build them and strengthen them in the faith. The pastor is not distant from the sheep. The pastor is next to them and among them, holding the Shield in order to deflect the flaming arrows, the weapons, the wild beasts that would destroy. The pastor works one on one so that his sheep will prosper. A flock that prospers is a direct credit to the shepherd who oversees them. A Pastor has to love the sheep, too often people choose Pastors because they can preach well, but eloquence is not the earmark of a great Pastor, it is LOVE. Pastors have to care for those that are hurting and broken, and at the same time be open to have the other 4 ministry offices SHARE in the ministry, I think too often it has been supposed that the office of Pastor is the most important office, but they all are equally important. A Pastor needs an Evangelist to bring souls into a place where they can be nurtured and fed the sincere milk of the Word of God.

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