The Fivefold Ministry Trumped by This Ministry

And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, administering, and various kinds of tongues.

1 Cor 12:28

God has elected a hierarchy of leadership in the church which includes apostles, prophets, teachers, pastors, miracle-workers, etc..

As people are moving away from pastor-centric or denominational-centric governance of church into apostle-based or five-fold ministry based, there came more freedom in some sense for more positions to be filled in the body which allowed the church to move forward.

But with this understanding, comes temptation for unrighteous pride along the lines of: “I am the apostle,” “I am the prophet,” “I am the teacher”.

And God has gifted and granted power for these people to operate freely.

Yet what we can forget about the five-fold ministry often is the common thread of calling that they all have–servanthood.

Being an apostle, a prophet, a teacher, a pastor, miracle worker, etc.. without servanthood, is to operate the church like a business organization in the world. It undoes the upside-down kingdom principles Jesus lays down for his people.

Remember what he said: “The Gentiles lord it over people and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant…” (Mt 20:25-26)

Even if we believe in a hierarchical leadership in the church, if applied to the kingdom humility principle, then what it actually means is not more ruling over people, or more fame, or more control, but a greater level of servanthood required by the one who leads.

If you are considered the greatest apostle in this area or that area, then you must demonstrate it by your sacrificial service to God’s purposes and to God’s people. With great authority, great humility is expected.

Phillip Chan

Phil has been writing for 10 years. His passion is to grow in his love for Jesus to obey his purposes in our generation.

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