Prophets and Teachers: A Needed Balance in the ChurchJune 4, 2013
Sermon: Honoring our FathersJune 12, 2013
When it comes to the fivefold ministry gifts, each of the five has a primary focus of ministry. For example, prophets and teachers are primarily focused on the Word of God. Teachers emphasize the written Word, and prophets the spoken word of the Holy Spirit. But both are essentially word-oriented in their focus and gifting.
Of the five ministry gifts, pastors and evangelists are the most focused on people. Generally, they care the least about structure and programs because they see these as an impediment to genuine relationship and connection with people. (Note that I am speaking of pastors in the true sense of the word, not simply leaders of churches with the title pastor. Many who carry the title pastor are actually one of the other gifts).
This emphasis on connecting with people is essential, because otherwise we can easily become a mechanical organization with more of a corporate feel than the family of God that we truly are. At the same time, there is a structure to the house of God and the necessity for government and order.
How Pastors and Evangelists Complement Each Other
Just like prophets and teachers complement each other, so do pastors and evangelists. While they are both very people-oriented, they are each concerned for a different set of people.
Evangelists burn with a passion to see the lost saved. This is what drives them and consumes their ministry. They are not very concerned with deeper teachings, church structure and government, and other activities of the church. Their message to the lost is “Come to Jesus and be saved!” Their message to the church is “Go out and win the lost!”
Pastors on the other hand, focus their attention and energy on those who are already saved. The word pastor means shepherd. The pastor is concerned with feeding, healing, protecting, and guiding the flock of God. They want to see the people of God healthy and whole, and growing in their relationship with God.
An evangelist cries out “What about the lost, who are perishing and going to hell?” A pastor cries out “What about the sheep, who are in need of care, encouragement, and direction?” And the fact is, both of these are valid concerns.
Why we Need the Fivefold Ministry
The above descriptions are an example of why we need the fivefold ministry. Each of the five carries a different aspect of the ministry and heart of Jesus. If we are to be a healthy church, we need to see all five of the ministry gifts functioning. The result will be “the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love” (Ephesians 4:16).
For the body of Christ to be all that God intends it to be, we need to embrace the various ministry gifts that God has given to the church. In the case of this article, we need evangelists bringing the lost to Jesus and equipping the church to share the gospel. And we also need pastors who truly love God’s people, and have the grace to walk with them, encourage them, teach them, and guide them over a long period of time.
May we see a fresh revelation of all of the gifts that God has given to the church!