The third team member of the fivefold ministry is the teacher.
A fivefold teacher is not just someone who teaches and imparts information. We call many who impart information “teacher.” We have teaching pastors, Bible teachers, Sunday school teachers, and on the list could go. But none of these are part of the fivefold ministry team “teacher” calling. Teacher in Ephesians 4:11 is a calling to be a part of the fivefold ministry team and is a leadership role in the church. It is also a trans-local ministry that takes the teacher from church to church the same as the ministry of the apostle and prophet.
To Note as well, a fivefold teacher is not simply someone who teaches from an outline (to wrongly differentiate them from a preacher), or someone who communicates facts. See the note at the bottom…
The fivefold teacher teaches by revelation. As they study they receive a fresh understanding of the ancient words of Scripture. Also, they receive a fresh way of expressing the new insight into an old truth to the current generation of believers and non-believers. The ministry of the fivefold teacher imparts understanding in fresh, new ways. When we gain fresh understanding, we can then walk in wisdom and we are able to fulfill God’s plan and purpose for our lives.
True fivefold teachers are motivated to help you to learn the ways of God and the heart of God. They do not want to just give you more information. They want God’s Word to enter your heart and bring forth transformation in your life. They give you revelation on how to walk with God and enjoy all that God has given to you through the death and resurrection of Jesus. Life change is always the result of the ministry of the fivefold teacher.
A true fivefold teacher will not try to impress you with how much they know. Their goal is not to make you dependent on them or to build up their reputation. What they teach will not sound hard or complicated. In fact, they will take rather complicated biblical and theological truths and express them in simple ways that everyone can understand. What a fivefold teacher says will usually sound very simple. The gift of the fivefold teacher takes what is a complex truth and makes it easy to understand.
You can recognize a fivefold teacher by two things. First, there will be a serious hunger to know the truth – a love for God’s Word. Second, there will be an ability to communicate so people can understand. When you heard a fivefold teacher teach, the lights go on and your heart is strangely warmed as were the hearts of the disciples when the resurrected Jesus revealed God’s Word to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. Your life changes.
A fivefold teacher will also teach others to teach. They will train and equip local teachers – Sunday school, Bible teachers, pulpit teachers – to teach God’s Word in a way that can be received and understood by the current generation of church attender and believers. They will teach teachers how to receive revelation through the written Word of God, the Bible.
As with the prophet, teachers are looking for the next generation of fivefold teachers whom they can disciple, train, equip, mentor, and release.
To Note: The Church mistakenly sees teachers as those who share the word line-up-line, precept-upon-precept. And, they see preachers as those who are more lively and tell more stories and have a larger entertainment factor in what they say and how they say it. In reality – it is the audience that determines whether someone is preaching or teaching. If the person sharing the Word is speaking to believers then they are teaching. If they are speaking or sharing with non-believers then they are preaching. The lost are saved through the preaching of the Cross… The difference between teaching and preaching is not the style or substance of the teaching but the audience listening.