It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Ephesians 4:11-13
The last set of gifts was given by the Head of the Church Jesus to make His church grow strong! These gifts were the gift of apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, and teacher. These five gifts were given to work together to keep His church from staying infants (verse 14). The five gifts given by Jesus are often called the five fold or 5 offices.
It is Jesus’ Church
There are two analogies used to describe the church in the Bible – a human body and a building, When the church is described as a body then it says Jesus is the head.
And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way. Ephesians 1:22-23
When the church is described as a building then Jesus is described as the cornerstone.
…you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. Ephesians 2:19-20
Jesus uses the analogy of constructing a building to describe how the church is to be built. A building needs to be straight and square in order to not fall over and to last during the onslaught of bad weather. In past times, a perfectly straight and square stone was used to be the guide that all of the subsequent walls were aligned to. This was called the cornerstone. Jesus tells us in this passage that He alone is to be that cornerstone. Jesus is the unequivocal leader of the Church.
Who Governs the Church?
But Jesus does not govern His church as a one man ruler. He is the head but He picks people to fill the 5 offices (gifts) to help Him start and mature the church. The 5 offices help believers become mature leaders. After that elders and deacons are appointed from the mature leaders. The elders and deacons govern the church. Some of the elders will also include the people in the 5 offices.
We see in Acts 13:1-3how the Holy Spirit (intermediary for Jesus) chose Saul (Paul the Apostle) and Barnabas for the work of starting new churches.
In the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul. While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.
We then see later after Paul had started churches he appointed elders to run the church. This became the model for his whole ministry. Elders were positions that governed the church.
Paul and Barnabas appointed elders for them in each church and, with prayer and fasting, committed them to the Lord, in whom they had put their trust. Acts 14:23
We see deacons being appointed by the original 12 in the first church at Jerusalem to help in the service jobs of the church.
So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. Brothers, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.” Acts 6:2-4
Qualification of elders and deacons are found in 1 Timothy 3. While the 5 offices are picked by Jesus, everyone can aspire to be an elder or deacon (1 Timothy 3:1). The requirements emphasis maturity and a strong character.
Order Within the 5 Gifts
In past times of building, after the cornerstone was placed exactly where it needed to go, the next thing to do was to pour the foundation around the stone. It was critical that the foundation be aligned in all directions with the cornerstone. If it was not the walls built on top of the foundation would not be square and would eventually cause problems for the inhabitants.
Jesus gave instructions that it was to be apostles and prophets that were to be placed into the church after Him. They were to be the foundation poured around Him. They were to be the primary gifts used for a strong foundation of maturity.
built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. Ephesians 2:20
Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets. 1 Corinthians 12:27-28b
After Jesus Christ is placed as the cornerstone, then the apostles and prophets become the foundation that the other 3 gifts – teacher, pastor, and evangelist are placed on.
Responsibility of 5 Gifts
The purpose of the 5 offices according to Ephesians 4:12-13is to teach and impart into believers the following 5 goals.
Training in the Bible and Ministry (Train)
Encouragement in Life’s Walk (Encourage)
How to walk in Unity (Unity)
Grow in their Knowledge of Jesus (Revelation)
How to become Mature (Maturity)
Each of the 5 gifts is the ‘lead’ for one of the 5 goals.
The purpose of the 5 gifts is 5 goals!
Each of the 5 gifts is to lead in one of the 5 goals!
Here is the list again with the gift/office that is to take the lead in that area. The key is the word lead. Every office will help in all areas. But the offices are to work together as a team deferring to one another in the area of anointing that Jesus as the head has given them.
Train – Teacher
Encourage – Pastor
Revelation – Prophet
Maturity – Apostle
“General Contractor of the Building”
Greek Definition: “messenger, He that is sent”
This is the first office manifested in the Church. The twelve original disciples were ordained as apostles by Jesus. That’s why you see Apostles everywhere in the New Testament. They were the ones trained by Jesus. It took several years for the other gifts to manifest because the believers had to be trained and raised up!
Apostles are the ones that start new works. That is why they are called sent ones. The one that sends them is the Holy Spirit. They are responsible for implementing the vision given by Jesus. They are good at building and developing structure in the church in order that everyone can mature. They create a structure that allows the other offices and gifts to flow and bless the people . They are also responsible for seeing that other leaders are raised up to form a strong team to continue to lead the church.
Greek Definition: “Forth telling of the truth”
Prophets are like the watchmen in the Old Testament. They help the body to see what is coming in the Spirit. They greatly affect the spiritual climate of the church. God uses them to see spiritual destiny in people and raising up leaders to fulfill that destiny. They are used greatly by Jesus to reveal His presence and majesty.
Greek Definition: “Preacher of the Good News”
Unity? Yes! Evangelists are very conscious of people that should be connected to the body of Jesus and are not. Evangelism is bringing people into the body of Christ that were not there before. They have a burden for completing or unifying the body into one. Evangelists also train the believers how to minister to unbelievers.
Greek Definition: “a herdsman, sheepherder” – literally, “shepherd”
There is only one place in the New Testament (Ephesians 4:11) where the word pastor is used. But the verses about shepherds apply to the pastor because they use the same Greek word. They are the first line of protection, care, and nourishment of the believers in the church. Pastors are the primary encouragers of the body ministering compassion and mercy.
“Building Tour Guide”
Greek Definition: “Instructor”
The teacher makes clear the Word of God with accuracy and simplicity – even on deep subjects. They are the primary trainers on the Bible, who God is, and how to do ministry. They also have the ability to apply the word of God to a person’s situation in order to give them steps to victory.
It takes all 5 offices to take care of the sheep and bring them to maturity. There is no one man show in the New Testament church. Christians will not be balanced unless all five gifts are present. Where a gift is missing then the Christian will be unbalanced in that area.
What is meant by the term “Apostolic Church”? An apostolic church has Jesus as the head and the 5 offices being led by an apostle. This means that the senior leader is not a pastor, teacher, or evangelist but an apostle. An apostolic church is different. It is constantly moving. It’s goal is changing people, families, communities, and nations into the likeness of Jesus.
“Apostolic ministry lays the foundation of Christ’s Lordship and the vision and values of His kingdom. We all then build upon that foundation.” Rice Broocks“Every Nation in our Generation”, pg. 192.
It’s important for every church to grow to the place where every one of the 5 gifts are identified and released in ministry. This is the only way that the church can be fully mature and well rounded. Each of the offices are important and needed. If any of them are not raised up and released then the church will be immature in that area. If only the gift of pastor is emphasized then the people are greatly encouraged but will be lacking in other areas. If the gift of teacher is over emphasized then the people will be well trained but will be lacking in some other area. No one gift is more important than another. Jesus saw the need of all of them working together to form His body the way that He desires her to look.
Jesus is restoring this truth of the need for all 5 gifts and subsequent 5 goals to be restored to His church. He is raising up His church to be fully mature, totally spotless and wrinkle free! It will take all5 gifts working with every elder, deacon, minister, and saint to accomplish this awesome purpose!