You Are The Church

You are not the “laity”

I am not the “professional clergy”

The clergy – laity divide is not biblical in the least

The word “laity” means “amateur”

And God does not want you to an amateur when it comes to the things of the faith

He wants you to be a mature believer

  • A new creature in Christ – growing into maturity so you become more and more like Him
  • A minister of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5)
  • An ambassador of the King and the Kingdom (2 Corinthians 5)
  • A reproducing believer going into your community and making disciples (Matthew 28)
  • A disciple who knows and can discern truth from error

We are all part of the “priesthood of all believers” 

1 Peter 2:9 “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.”

I was once a priest of a major worldwide denomination

The trained professional with two seminary degrees

The paid professional who was hired to “do the ministry”

Then I was born again and realized that this clergy – laity divide is simply not biblical

Pastor – people

Priest – people

Yes, the local church has leaders – called elders but they are simply mature disciples who oversee the life of the church

All of us are priests unto God

All of us are disciples of Jesus

All of us are called to follow Him and do as He did

John 14:12 ““Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father (and will send the Holy Spirit).”

All of us are called to “go into all the world and make disciples” (Matthew 28:19)

We are His people – His Body – completing the ministry that He began

What I do up front when I travel is not because I am an apostle

Most apostolic work is done behind the scenes … crisis, correction, leadership, input

I do what I do as a disciple and believer

I read the Bible and decided that whatever God said I could do as a believer – then that is what I would do

The things that Jesus did we are to do as part of the “priesthood of all believers”

  • Heal the sick
  • The lame walk
  • The blind see
  • The dumb speak
  • The deaf hear
  • The demon possessed are set free
  • Preach the ‘Gospel of the Kingdom’
  • Teach the believers the truth of God’s Word
  • Disciple those who are younger in the faith
  • Make more disciples, bringing people into the Kingdom as they experience the love of God

Within the local church

  • Everyone is a minister – Everyone has a ministry
  • Everyone is called to a specific task or ministry – “a calling”
  • Everyone should be empowered and equipped, released to touch lives of non-Christians with the love of God
  • Everyone is called into maturity and into ministry

Jesus has placed five different ministries / leadership giftings  within His Church

The regional / trans-local ministry team working in a number of local churches

They are there to disciple, train, equip, mentor, and release…

They are there to raise up mature “priests” of the King

  • Effective
  • Efficient
  • Empowered
  • Influential
  • Impactful
  • Imparting love and power to others

These five different ministers / leaders are found listed in Ephesians 4:11

Ephesians 4:11 “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers…”

Let’s refer to these as APEST…you know, they are there in the church to be annoying and get you moving forward in your journey and ministry – “A pest”

Jesus, while ministering and training His disciples, as we read about in the pages of the New Testament

Jesus fulfilled all five of these APEST ministries…

Jesus had five basic ministries to the people and the nation

  1. Apostle – Hebrews 3:1
  2. Prophet – Mark 6:4
  3. Evangelist – Nicodemus in John 3; Woman at the well in John 4
  4. Shepherd – John 10:11
  5. Teacher – Mark 2:13

As He ascended into Heaven after His death and resurrection

After appearing for a period of 40 days to individuals and groups

He separated these five roles / gifts / callings and distributed them to a team of leaders

This team of APEST leaders were:

Trans-local / regional just as Jesus was when ministering for three years

Each involved in a local church as a ‘disciple’ and ‘member’

Connected to and established relationally in a local church like all believers

Together they represented the fullness of the ministry of Jesus

Rarely would one local church have all five resident within their numbers

Caused local churches to relate to a regional hub

Bringing about a vital inter-dependance among believers and churches

To note:

The “pastor” was trans-local and part of the fivefold team

The idea of a resident, local pastor or “paid professional” is not biblical

In fact, not one of the New Testament churches were led by a pastor (solo)

When a local church is not built biblically and thus has a leader who is a “paid professional pastor” we see a very weak and anemic church

The local church would not have the fullness of the ministry of Jesus but instead settles for a fifth – and the wrong understanding of that fifth or the “pastor”

To have the fullness of the ministry in a local church we need all five of the fivefold ministering functioning, equipping, and empowering the “priesthood of all believers”

So, Paul (an apostle) moves into the city of Ephesus where he finds 12 disciples of John the Baptist

He discovers that they are not born again and so explains the Gospel of the Kingdom to them

They receive the Good News and become believers

He then baptizes them by immersion in water as Jesus commanded (Matthew 28:19-20)

As they come up out of the waters of baptism Paul lays hands on them and they receive the Holy Spirit – the baptism in the Spirit

And they are now empowered to be witnesses for Jesus (Acts 1:8)

And the nine gifts of the Holy Spirit begin to operate in their lives

Let’s read the story…

Acts 19:1-7 “And it happened that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the inland country and came to Ephesus. There he found some disciples. And he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they said, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” And he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” They said, “Into John’s baptism.” And Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, Jesus.” On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking in tongues and prophesying. There were about twelve men in all.

Later in the story Paul appoints and sets into place elders in the church in Ephesus to oversee the spiritual health and well-being of the believers in the city

And, then the fivefold ministers would travel in to Ephesus to help the elders on a regular basis

Encourage, guide, direct, share news of other places in the Kingdom, lend a hand

At times an apostle, like Timothy, stayed for a season to bring the believers into line with God’s plan and purpose for the church there

So, let’s look at these fivefold ministers and briefly see some of the work that they do and the focus of their ministry (skimming the surface and just touching on a few for each)


  • ¥ Master Builder so knows the basic plans for the Church Jesus is building
  • ¥ Lays the foundation for the local church – spiritually, relationally, doctrinally
    • ¥ Ephesians 2:20
    • ¥ Sets the vision for the Church that Jesus is building
    • ¥ Is the “sent” one and when a church welcomes the apostle it becomes apostolic – ‘sent’
    • ¥ Calls out ministries, placement of the saints, and roles
    • ¥ Releases the gifts and callings that they see on the people in a local church
    • ¥ Corrects foundational issues
    • ¥ Brings chastisement when appropriate
    • ¥ Speaks direction for the local church
    • ¥ Trains the next generation of apostles
    • ¥ Trains the other four team members in the fivefold ministry


    • ¥ Teaches on the prophetic
    • ¥ Releases the prophetic anointing in the local church
    • ¥ Imparts gifts – Romans 1:11
    • ¥ Calls out and announces peoples gifts and callings
    • ¥ Mentors the next generation of prophets
    • ¥ Brings correction to the local leadership
    • ¥ Speaks direction to the leadership


    • ¥ Holds local crusades
    • ¥ Evangelizes one-on-one as a believer should
    • ¥ Imparts a heart for the lost
    • ¥ Stirs up God’s people to move out and impact their neighbours and community
    • ¥ Trains you in the supernatural gifts of the Spirit in relationship to sin them to evangelize


    • ¥ Teaches the basic ten doctrines of the Christian faith
    • ¥ Teaches the next generation of fivefold teachers
    • ¥ Teaches those who teach locally to teach more effectively
    • ¥ Teaches the current revelation that God is speaking to the Church today
    • ¥ The current “move of the Spirit”
    • ¥ Repairs and corrects wrong teachings where they exist removing the “winds of doctrine” that many believe in spite of not being Scriptural


    • ¥ Teaches the people of God how to care for one another as the body ministers to the body
    • ¥ Teaches on the 59 “One Another” New Testament verses
    • ¥ Pastors the elders and leaders of the local church
    • ¥ Trains and raises up the next generation of fivefold pastors

The fivefold ministers are absolutely essential for the Church to be the true Body of Christ and to reach maturity.

Without these fivefold ministers operating locally the people will not be trained or equipped for the “work of the ministry” (Ephesians 4:11)

We see this in the Scriptures

Ephesians 2:20 “(The Church) built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone,”

Ephesians 4:11-12 “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ.”

1 Corinthians 12:28 “And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, administrating, and various kinds of tongues.” (no pastors – local pastors)

The work of the fivefold ministry – the fullness of the ministry of Jesus – is seen in the following verses:

Ephesians 4:11-16 “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.”

So, here is what these verses are pointing out to us…

1> We need all five coming to a local church – working with the local leaders – to bring the Church into full maturity

2> If you only have a “pastor” and that person is not even a fivefold pastor (the only kind of pastor in the Bible) then you will not defeat the devil and his work against the Church

Instead of hitting with a fist (all five of Jesus’ ministries – you are trying to push the devil away with a wounded finger (pastor) who is really not a pastor

3> The basic task of the fivefold ministers is to “equip the saints.”

Disciple, train, equip, empower, impart, mentor, release

4> The saints are trained and equipped so that they can do the work of the ministry – the things that Jesus did (Ephesians 4:12; John 14:12)

5> As a result of the ministry of the fivefold team of ministers the Church is built up, is healthy, and is able to reproduce

    • ¥ Come to have the same understanding of the faith
    • ¥ Become mature in the knowledge of who God is / Jesus is / Holy Spirit is
    • ¥ Become more and more like Jesus entering into the “fullness of Jesus’
    • ¥ Become very mature and full like Christ
    • ¥“Fully mature adults, fully developed within and without, fully alive like Christ.” (The Message Version)
    • ¥ No longer immature babies needing help at every turn
    • ¥ No longer buying into every teaching / teacher … “every wind of doctrine”
    • ¥ Walking in revelation knowledge, knowing the Bible
    • ¥ Speaking the truth in love
    • ¥ Always moving forward to greater maturity becoming more and more like Jesus – the Head of the Church
    • ¥ Character, motives, heart for the lost, attitude, words, works
    • ¥ Every part of the Body of Christ whole, healed, functioning and moving forward into greater maturity … “Every/each part is working properly…”
    • ¥ The Church will continue to grow spiritually and numerically
    • ¥ Known as a place of “love”

So, let’s look again at all of this that is from Ephesians 4:11-16 but using a more modern English version – The Message Version

“He handed out gifts of apostle, prophet, evangelist, and pastor-teacher to train Christians in skilled servant work, working within Christ’s body, the church, until we’re all moving rhythmically and easily with each other, efficient and graceful in response to God’s Son, fully mature adults, fully developed within and without, fully alive like Christ.

No prolonged infancies among us, please. We’ll not tolerate babes in the woods, small children who are an easy mark for impostors. God wants us to grow up, to know the whole truth and tell it in love—like Christ in everything. We take our lead from Christ, who is the source of everything we do. He keeps us in step with each other. His very breath and blood flow through us, nourishing us so that we will grow up healthy in God, robust in love.”

The church will then be:

  • Mature
  • Equipped
  • Trained
  • Supernaturally empowered
  • Outward focused
  • Released to “go into all the world”


This is very different – almost totally different – than our understanding of the Church today

This is an exciting understanding because it is biblical and allows the Church to function the way Jesus planned it to function – and to grow healthy as well as numerically

This biblical understanding of the “Priesthood of all believers” and the fivefold ministry will change the way we see Church and the way we do church

  • Gathered will become scattered
  • Teach for information – becomes teach for transformation
  • Practical application and immediately relevant
  • People will learn something, practice it within the assembly, and then go do it in the world
  • Activate God’s people to do as Jesus did
  • Every member will be a minister
  • Born again, baptized in the Holy Spirit, empowered witness