If you didn’t read yesterday’s blog – the “2/5’s of the Body” – it would be a good idea to read it first.
In Ephesians 4:11-15 we read of the five-fold ministry of Jesus being given as gifts to individuals so that, as they worked together, the whole ministry of Jesus would be represented and the Body of Christ would be whole and wholesome.
As we read yesterday the Body of Christ, the Church, is deformed and unable to walk in health today because we have generally been functioning with only the ministry of pastor (priest) and teacher. We have ignored or theologically removed the need for the ministry of apostles, prophets, and evangelists and thus function with only 2/5ths of the ministry of Jesus actively available today. This needs to change and I believe it is in many places in the world today. There is a hunger for the fullness of Christ as represented by the full five-fold ministry gifts given by Jesus to His Church.
These five ministries that represent the fullness of the ministry of Jesus are trans-local ministries working together to encourage and equip the Church that Jesus is building. Although each person in the five-fold ministry team should be a member and active in a local church their ministry is regional, national, or global. They are not just ministering locally but minister in a wide range of churches and in a wide geographical area. Thus their ministry is trans-local.
I have noticed, however, that people hear what they want to hear or are use to hearing. When I teach on the five-fold ministry and state: apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, and teacher – people think apostle (five-fold, equipping, and trans-local), prophet (five-fold, equipping, and trans-local), evangelist (five-fold, equipping and trans-local), pastor (local and doing the ministry), teacher (local and doing the ministry). In other words, as this list is read and considered the brain automatically registers what we see and know regarding life in the church – the words ‘pastor’ and ‘teacher’ automatically brings to mind the leader of a local church – the pastor who teaches.
This is not what is meant in Ephesians 4:11-12. The ‘pastor’ is one who is also trans-local as he is a member of this trans-local equipping team. The ‘teacher’ is also trans-local as a member of this trans-local equipping team. The current ‘local pastor’ model of church leadership is simply not biblical. And the combining of the role of ‘pastor’ and ‘teacher’ as some do (reading this pastor-teacher and thus a four-fold ministry) is also seriously incorrect. So, when this list is read we need to see all five of these ministries and roles as trans-local and not equate the last two to something familiar and non-biblical in the church today.
I understand this might be considered by some as radical but I believe it is biblical. And, that we need to remove the traditional and religious interpretation of these two very important five-fold, trans-local ministry roles. Otherwise, the Church will never reach the fullness of Christ and become a mature Church as Ephesians 4 states we must.