INTRODUCTION runs the Church. Each member of the Body

INTRODUCTION

            In Ephesians 4:11 of the Bible we see a list of different
ministry gifts, also known as the Fivefold Ministry Gifts or the Ascension
Gifts, that Jesus gave to the Church. “And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some
pastors and teachers.”1
Briefly, this paper will first explain what/who the church is and why it
is important for you to know exactly what the church consists of, and second,
it will explain each of the fivefold ministry gifts and what their importance
is in the church.

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 I.         WHAT/WHO
IS THE CHURCH

            Before being able to learn about what the different
ministry gifts are, we first need to know what the Church is and who it
includes. In Matthew 16:18, Jesus promised that “Upon this Rock, I will
build My Church”, but what exactly did He mean. Father God made Jesus
Christ the Head of all things to the Church (Ephesians 1:22) and there is only
one Church that Jesus built. The church is not a physical building with four
walls. The Church is the Body of Christ, and the Body of Christ are the people
of whom Jesus is the Head over. (Colossians 1:18)  His Church is made up of people, it is a
living building made of living stones.2 (1
Peter 2:5-9) Just like how our brain runs our natural body, this is how Jesus
runs the Church. Each member of the Body of Christ has their own function and
purpose in the Church, just like in our natural body where each part has its
own purpose and function. When one part of our natural body isn’t functioning
the ways it is supposed to then issues arise, the same thing goes for each
person or part in the Body of Christ. “Jesus Christ is the Head of His
body, the Church. The Head and the body are one.”3
There are times when people forget that the Church is not the physical building
and that it is one composed of people and not bricks and mortar.

II.
       THE FIVEFOLD MINISTRY GIFTS

            In Ephesians 4:11 we see the following list of the ministry
gifts Jesus Christ, while seated at the right hand of God. These ministry gifts
are also called the Fivefold Ministry gifts or the Ascension Gifts:

Apostles: The apostle’s office seems to
embrace almost every type of ministry.

Prophets: The prophet’s ministry is
inspirational. He speaks by direct, divine inspiration and revelation.

 Evangelist: The evangelist has a direct
endowment from the Lord to preach the Word for the salvation of souls.

Pastors: Pastors are the shepherds of
God’s sheep.

Teachers: Those who fill the office of
teacher teach the Word, not by natural ability, but by the divine ability of
the Holy Spirit.4

Each ministry gift was
given to build up the body of Christ, which is the Church,  

“for the equipping of the saints
for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the Body of Christ till we
all come to the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God, to
perfect a man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” (Ephesians
4:12-13)

 All of the work done in the ministry comes
under the lordship of Jesus Christ.  All
five of the ministry gifts need to work together in the Church to help us grow
up into His image.5
The fivefold ministries gifts were given to the Church to bring balance (Acts
13:1) because balance is needed in order for the Church to effectively minster
to all that the Body of Christ needs. One ministry gift cannot do it on their
own, every church needs all five of the ministry gifts in order to function
properly. No one ministry gift is higher than any other. It is important to
know that God is the one who sets the ministry gifts in the church and not man.
A person needs to be divinely called by God into whichever office He wants them
in. You do not go into the ministry on your own, if a man sets himself into any
of the offices it is not scriptural.”You
do not enter the ministry- any phase of it- just because you feel it is a holy
calling and you’d like to respond.”6
Some ways  to help you tell if you have a
divine call into one of the fivefold ministries include having the conviction
in your spirit and you have learned how to listen to your spirit, and you are
equipped with the gifts of the Spirit for that office because if God calls you
to an office He will equip you with the spiritual gifts needed for you to be
able to stand in that office. The ministry to which you are called will be
evident in your life. You need to make sure you are faithful to that calling on
your life by studying the Word, dedicating yourself to it, consecrating
yourself and submitting to the will of God.  It is important to remember that ministries
are developed as it takes time for people to become equipped for what God has
called them to. You may even start off in a different ministry before going
into the one that you are called. Do not rush, take time to wait and see what
God wants you to do. God will not put a novice into a position of authority. “At
times it may look like you’re going to 
go under, sink or die but if you will stay faithful during those times
you will go over because you have been called by God.”7 It
is important to note the Jesus Christ is the only one who has all five of the
Fivefold Ministry gifts. He
embodies

           

            In this part, each of the Fivefold Ministry gifts will be
briefly explained and their importance in the church today.  The Fivefold Ministry gifts are Apostle,
Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor, and Teacher.

Apostle

            The first
ministry gift given to the Church is the Apostle. (1 Corinthians 12:28) The
Greek word for apostle, ‘Apostolos’, can be translated to mean one sent forth,
a sent one. The person who has this gift is one who establishes churches, who
appoints leaders and ordains elders within those churches. They are often seen
as spiritual fathers to others, they train and discipline ministries and bring
revelation of the Word to the Church. Although the office of the apostle is the
first ministry gift given to the Church, it does not mean that it ranks higher
than or dominates any of the other ministry gifts. “In the early Church,
this gift was one most important because they brought forth the revelation of
the New Testament, which is the foundation upon which the Church in all
generations is to be established.”8
Some signs and fruit of an apostle include signs, wonders, and mighty deeds (2
Corinthians 12:12) and the people. (1 Corinthians 9:1-2)

            There are four classes of apostles and “each class
of apostle has a different anointing.”9
The first class consists only of Jesus Christ Himself. He is the Chief Apostle.
(Hebrews 3:1) The second class of the apostle is the Apostles of the Lamb. They
were the twelve disciples who were eyewitnesses to Jesus’ life, ministry,
death, burial, and resurrection.(Revelation21:14) The third class of apostles
included Paul, Barnabas, and other apostles of the New Testament. They also
helped to lay down the doctrinal foundation of the New Testament along with the
apostles of the Lamb. The fourth class of the apostle includes those of us in
the church today who stand in the office of an apostle. Some of these people
include missionaries if they are sent out by the Holy Spirit. It is important
to note that even though we still have apostles today in our time, they are not
receiving any new revelations that can be added to the foundation of the gospel.

            Some things we need to look for in an apostle today are 1.
They are a preacher or a teacher of the Word (1 Tim 2:7, 2 Tim 1:11), 2.
Outstanding spiritual gifts, 3. Deep personal encounter with the Lord, 4. Power
and ability to establish churches, and 5. Able to provide adequate spiritual
leadership.10
Some of the qualifications of an Apostle include: must have the character
qualifications of an Elder (must be born again, must be baptized, must be made
an overseer by the Holy Spirit), must be blameless, must be of good behaviour,
must be vigilant, be temperate, be sober, be just, be holy, lover of good,
hospitable, patient, not be a brawler, must not be soon angry, not be a striker,
not greedy, not covetous, not be self-willed, not given to wine, must be grave,
not double-tongued, not be a slanderer, faithful in all things, a steward of
God, desire the office, not be a lord over God’s people, be an example to the
flock of God,  be able to rule his own
house, and the husband to one wife.11

            The ministry of an apostle includes perfecting and
maturing the saints, founding and/or establishing local churches, preaching and
teaching the Word, signs and wonders as the Spirit wills, ordination and
appointment of ministries, baptism in the Holy Spirit, Church judgments and
disciplines, has vision for the whole Body of Christ, care for the churches he
founds, be willing to sacrificially suffer for the church, be willing to be
tested and proven true, be characterized by wisdom, will set God’s house in
Divine order.

Prophet

            The second ministry gift given to the Church is the Prophet
(1 Corinthians 12:28). “A prophet speaks by direct divine inspiration, not
something that he thought of, but something given at the spur of the moment by
sudden inspiration.”12 An
Old Testament prophet was the only ministry in operation from the standpoint of
preaching and teaching the people by inspired utterance. In order to stand in
the office of a prophet, you must have a consistent manifestation of at least
two of the revelations gifts, which word of wisdom, word of knowledge and
discerning of spirits. A prophet has visions and revelations. This ministry
gift differs from the gift of prophecy which is a spiritual gift. The spiritual
gift of prophecy is a supernatural utterance beyond our own reasoning or
understanding and because you are able to prophesy it does not mean you are a
prophet. In the Old Testament, a prophet would see and know things
supernaturally and they would give a prophecy which was a foretelling of things
to come, such as the coming Messiah. This was the Word of wisdom in operation.
The Old Testament prophet would also warn people of the consequences of not
giving their life to the Lord. This was the Word of knowledge in action. In the
Old Testament, the prophet was the only one who could speak for God as he was
inspired by the Holy Spirit, and they would give guidance to the people because
they were spiritually dull. In the New Testament, the prophet changes from
foretelling to forth telling. Today every born again believer should be led by
the Holy Spirit and they can hear from God for themselves.    

            In the Bible, it speaks about false prophets and ways we
can recognize them. Jesus even warned about false prophets in Matthew 7:15 and
24:11. Some of these ways include: what they say does not come to pass
(Deuteronomy 18:22), they speak of their own 
and they do not cause people to turn away from wickedness (Jeremiah
23:21-22), they are motivated by money (Jeremiah 6:13), they deny the sovereign
Lord (2 Peter 2:1),  and they are
rebellious against God and lead people astray (Deuteronomy 13:1-5). Like with
the apostle, there are different classes of prophets. Jesus is in the first
class alone (Luke 5:22), followed by the foundational prophets which include
Paul and the non-foundational prophets such as Agabus (Acts 21:10-11).

             There are many
misconceptions about what a prophet is today. Some think that there is no need
for the office of the prophet today, or that it has been done away with, but
there is no scriptural evidence for this. Some people think that a prophet
should know everything and that they should run to them to find out what they
should do.  It is unscriptural to seek
the guidance of the prophet under the New Covenant.13  Everything that a prophet does must point to
God and not themselves.

Evangelist

            The third ministry gift given to the Church is the
Evangelist (Ephesians 4:11-12). The evangelist’s gift is to proclaim the gospel
and bring the good news. Their calling is to preach Jesus. They bring the
message of the redeeming grace of God and their favourite theme is salvation.
The word evangelist can only be seen in the New Testament three times. (Ephesians
4:11, Acts 21:8, 2 Timothy 4:5) An example of an evangelist in the Bible is
Philip was “full of the Holy Spirit, full of faith, had wisdom, and was of
good report in his local Church.14
The marks of a true evangelist include preaching the Word, bringing a person to
the decision of salvation. The evangelist also recognizes their need for others
because like the other ministry gifts they know they cannot do everything in
the Church alone. Unlike the other ministry gifts, the ministry of the
evangelist is largely conducted outside the four walls of the church. Some
areas where evangelism can take place include house to house, rest homes,
secular places of employment, prisons, hospitals,15
and the list goes on and on.

Pastor

            The
fourth ministry gift given to the Church is the Pastor. (Ephesians 4:11-12) The
office of the pastor is the most widely recognized office in the local church
today. The Greek word for pastor, poimen,  translates to ‘shepherd’. Jesus Christ is our
Great Shepherd (Hebrews 13:20)

 and He has people under Him who are called
under-shepherds or more commonly known as pastors. The pastor is called by God
and is responsible for taking care of the sheep (God’s people) in the local
church. The ministry of the pastor includes: 
feeding the sheep, giving direction and guidance, supplying protection,
ministering to the needs of the sheep, knowing the sheep and they know him,
caring for the sheep, overseeing the flock, and maturing the Body of Christ.
The office of the pastor is “one of the most important offices” because
“without it than all the other offices would be in vain. “16
 The pastor must remember that his
personal relationship with Jesus is important, especially if he is to be a good
shepherd. In Ezekiel 34: 1-10, the Bible warns us of false shepherds. These are
people who will feed themselves before feeding the flock, they will not
strengthen the weak, and they will not heal the sick etc. Thanks be to God that
He will deliver His flock from those people.  

 

Teacher

            The fifth ministry gift given to the Church is the Teacher.
(Ephesians 4:11-12) Teachers and teaching are very important in the New
Testament and the office of the teacher is the only ministry gift mentioned by
name in all three lists of ministry listed in the Bible. Like all the other
ministry gifts, the gift of teaching is by divine calling and requires a divine
gift that is not based on natural ability or inclination to teach.  “Natural ability and inclination may
provide a background for this gift- but the teaching gift is not a natural
gift.”17
Jesus taught everywhere He went and when He
taught He held the attention of those He was teaching.
He was the perfect example of what a teacher should be. He was teachable, He
kept a humbleness of spirit and mind, He was sensitive to His audience, and He
did not act like a know-it-all. Jesus placed people first (Luke
13:10-17) and He taught with authority. (Luke 20:1-8) Even Nicodemus recognized
Jesus as a teacher. (John 3:1-21) The teacher
is the one who ministers to those who have accepted salvation and they help
them to mature spiritually. A true teacher of the
gospel will never teach doctrinal error which will cause division in the Body
of Christ by what he teaches.

        “A teacher cannot compromise on fundamental principles
of the doctrine of Christ. (Hebrews 6:1-2) These fundamental principles that
cannot be compromised include 1. repentance from dead works, 2. faith towards
God, 3. doctrine of baptisms 4. laying on of hands 5. the resurrection of the
dead  and 6. eternal judgement.”18

 

Jesus gave
teachers to the Church so they could build up and edify the Body.(Ephesians
4:11) It is important for the teacher to be able to read their students.
Sometimes it is better to hold back certain teachings for a period of time if
the class is not ready to handle the information. Paul had done this very thing
in 1 Corinthians 3:12. He wanted to tell them what he had to say but they
needed to grow up spiritually before he could tell them.  The Bible speaks about false teachers in
several verses. One example is in 2 Timothy 4:3-4 when Paul warns Timothy that
people will turn to teachers who will turn them away from the truth. Another
example is in 2 Peter 2:1-3 where it warns not about only false teachers but
prophets as well who will bring in destructive heresies and deceive people.

CONCLUSION

             As we can see the
Church which Jesus Christ is the Head of is not a material building, made up of
four walls. It is His Body, made of living stones who are the people. In the Church,
each and every one of the Fivefold Ministry gifts is needed and are important in
order for the operation of the Church to run smoothly. No one ministry gift is
higher than any other. All of the ministry gifts are equal in the Church which creates
balance. Each of the ministry gifts is given to a person who is called by God.
We cannot take a ministry upon ourselves. Once God has called us to a specific
office, He will equip us with the spiritual gifts that we need in order to
stand in that office He called us to.  God
will not put a person in a position of authority without first equipping them with
everything they need.

 

 

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

§  Conner, Kevin J. The Church In The New Testament.
Kent, England, Sovereign World International, 1989,.

§  Hagin, Kenneth E. He
Gave Gifts Unto Men. Tulsa, OK, Faith Library Publications, 1992,.

§  Hagin, Kenneth E. The Ministry Gifts. Broken
Arrow, OK, RHEMA Bible Training Center, 1996,.

§  The Holy Bible: New King James Version Nashville,
Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc., 1982 Print.

 

1 NKJV

2 K. Conner The Church In The New Testament. p44

3 K.
Hagin “The Ministry Gifts”,
p9

4 K. Hagin “The Ministry Gifts”, p15

5 K. Hagin “The Ministry Gifts”, p2

6 K. Hagin “The Ministry Gifts”, p3

7 K. Hagin “The Ministry Gifts”, p10

8 K. Hagin “The Ministry Gifts”, p17

9 K. Hagin “The Ministry Gifts”, p22

10 K. Hagin “The Ministry Gifts”, p25

11 K. Conner The Church In The New Testament. p111-115

12 K. Hagin “The Ministry Gifts”, p28

13 K.
Hagin “The Ministry Gifts”,
p32

14 K. Conner The Church In The New Testament. p172

15 K. Conner The Church In The New Testament. p174

16 K.
Hagin “The Ministry Gifts”,
p51

17 K. Hagin “The Ministry Gifts”, p59

18 K. Hagin “The Ministry Gifts”, p61