Don’t We All Need Evangelists, Shepherds, Teachers, Prophets & Apostles?
Often the churches that we attend have strength in one gifting of the five fold ministry of Ephesians 4 but also finds themselves weak in other areas. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the local church could offer and supply all five areas and giftings instead of just emphasizing one or two?
Every local church needs an evangelists or they will not grow in number, remain stagnant, and eventually die out; every local church needs a shepherd or their members will not spiritually grow in Christ-likeness; every local church needs teachers to keep their local church anchored on the Word of God, the Bible; every local church needs the prophetic so they can be able to hear the voice of the lord individually and corporately; every local church needs the apostolic to encourage the growth of the other four individually, yet network them together for effective service in unity. So then, I ask the question again, “Why aren’t our local churches open to all five ministries of Ephesians 4?
Isaiah 57 exhorts us to “remove the barriers from my people.” Often those barriers are called traditions, those pillars that worked in the past on which the local congregation built their ministry. It is hard to release old traditions that have worked effectively in the past for newness, for in them we find security, history, stability, and control.
Another barrier can be called the clergy/laity barrier, which distinguishes two distinctly different classes in a supposedly non-distinctive church. Who do we train in most churches, staff for professional development, or the saints for their sanctification in Jesus Christ and the unity of the corporate body?
A third barrier can be structure, for today’s church structure is liken to a caterpillar, cumbersome, slow to move, but moves steadily while trying to consume as much as it can to continue is journey and produce rapid growth. It order to become a butterfly, a complete different structure is needed so it will be allowed it to fly. There needs to be a metamorphosis, a spiritual cocoon of change which will restructure, remold the way we currently do church. Remember, caterpillars can fly! Butterflies can! But it will take a restructuring to bring flight, so the Church can “soar as if on eagle’s wings.”
So the bottom line is if the church is to be open and receptive to all five giftings to properly function in their midst, then they have to be open to a restructuring where the local church is equipping the saints for the work of service, not just the staff. When the local church is ready to equip, prepare, maintain, care, nurture, release the priesthood of believes that meets in their midst, that is the people of God, then it will be receptive to the five fold. Until then, old wine will break through new wineskins as the Bible teaches. Old structures will not hold new ideas and ideals, only new forms and structures will embrace them. Does the church want “break out revivals” as is its history, or do they want “revival from within” because it is willing to restructure? Those are the hard questions the church has to answer in this 21st Century.