Qualification for the Fivefold Minister – Part Four

We are looking at 1 Timothy and the qualifications, character-wise, for fivefold ministers and others in Church leadership… The Scripture states:

“This is a faithful saying:If a man desires the position of a bishop, he desires a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober- minded (self-controlled), of good behaviour (respectable), hospitable, able to teach; not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous; one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?); not a novice, lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil. Moreover he must have a good testimony among those who are outside, lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.”

To serve the Church, a fivefold minister and leader …”is temperate; self-controlled”

Self-control consists of the right use of one’s will under the controlling power and influence of the Holy Spirit. It must be an outgrowth of the Spirit’s inner working in a person’s life “both to will and to do of His good pleasure”(Philippians 2:13). It is part of the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).

Fivefold tans-local ministers are discipled people. They are able to control their desires and impulses. This means having control on the appetites of our lives. All of us have appetites and ambitions that need to be under the Lord’s control. Sampson lost his valid leadership anointing because he couldn’t control his sexual appetite. Moses didn’t fulfill his destiny to go into the Promised Land because he cold not deal effectively with anger in his life. These examples are written and recorded for our benefit so that we can learn from them. It is imperative that a leader have his personal life and ministry under the control of the Holy Spirit.

To serve the Church, a fivefold minister and leader … “is respectable”

The Greek word translated “respectable is ‘kosmios.’ The English word “cosmetics” comes from the same root word. In Titus 2:10, the very ‘kosmeo’ is translated “to adorn.”

This simply means being diligent and consistent in the way one lives so as to not take away from the impact you can have in your neighbourhood and district. The leaders life should “adorn” the Gospel of the Kingdom through living a life-style that properly corresponds with the character of God.

To serve the Church, a fivefold minister and leader … “is hospitable”

Quite simply, “being hospitable” means “being fond of guests.” The home of a fivefold minister and/or church leader is an open home where people of all kinds feel welcome. A fivefold leader maintains a gracious and generous attitude towards others. Those in the fivefold ministry are willing to help, to come to others aid; they enjoy associating with others. Hospitality is simply inviting people into your life and home. Be careful, it can be habit-forming and highly contagious!

Qualifications for Fivefold Ministers – Part Three

Character is listed in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 …. “This is a faithful saying:If a man desires the position of a bishop, he desires a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober- minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach; not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous; one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?); not a novice, lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil. Moreover he must have a good testimony among those who are outside, lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.”

To serve the Church, a fivefold minister and leader … “is willing”

An evidence of God’s calling a person to serve is the presence of a desire or passion. This is not a human ambition; it is a calling from God – a deep desire and compulsion to lovingly serve the Lord’s people, the Church. A fivefold minister’s motivation is pure. It is not his ambition worked out in a spiritual atmosphere where he can hide his true motivation. He is doing it because it is the Lord’s call on his life. He loves the Lord and loves the Church that Jesus is building. He desires to see the Body of Christ strengthened and become mature. He would never knowingly do something that would bring disgrace or harm to the family of God or those in it.

To serve the Church, a fivefold minister and leader … “is above reproach”

“being above reproach” or blameless is not referring to perfection. Paul was calling attention to a person’s reputation. A fivefold minister lives his life in such a way that no one can legitimately find fault wth him. He is free from the taint of scandal and accusation  (Colossians 1:22) and has unquestionable integrity. If people look at his life and try to find something they can use against him, they will find it difficult, because he is blameless and above reproach. His character sets an example for all to follow. A man’s reputation will go before him. A fivefold trans-local minister must be above reproach because his is a travelling ministry; his reputation travels to a place before he does, and in many cases his reputation is part of the reason he is being invited.

To serve the Church, a fivefold minister and leader … “is the husband of one wife.”

The Greek translates this as a “one woman man.” He maintains God’s standard of morality. This passage is sometimes used as a proof text that a divorced person cannot serve as a fivefold minister in the Church. However, if we look at the time it was written, we see that some of the converted Jews still had several wives as permitted under Semitic Law. It was this practice of having multiple wives that was being discouraged at the time of Christ, hence the reference to “Being the husband of one wife.” When he came to Christ, the new convert was faced with a new standard of morality – God’s standard. The same standard applied for any Christian woman. She too was to to be faithful to one husband.

Regarding the question of “Can a previously divorced person serve in any capacity of leadership?” It seems biblically that they  can. While every divorce is the result of sin – sin can be forgiven. And, not every divorce is sinful. There are those who have been abandoned and had no choice to divorce or not to divorce. Their mates left them. Physical abuse and having to leave for fear of their lives is another common situation today. There are abused husbands as well as wives. Drug addiction, alcoholism result in a life out of control leads to separation and then, often, divorce.

But, whatever the reason for the divorce, the key here is if the individual acknowledges that divorce is sin. Did they work at bringing reconciliation to the broken relationship – acting redemptively in the marriage? Were they willing to continue to work through the broken relationship with the goal of restoration?

After all, God is a God of restoration. Initiating a divorce is not an option for a believer. However, often good people find themselves in a divorce situation because the spouse went for the divorce. If the person did everything possible to rescue and save the marriage but ended up divorced in spite of his effort, he is not disqualified from leadership or being a part of the fivefold ministry.

Qualifications of the Fivefold Minister – Part Two

In the fivefold ministry – character comes first. Jesus placed a lot of emphasis on character. Putting a stronger emphasis on an individual’s anointing and gifts as happens in many regions of the Kingdom means we often release someone to minister in our churches that does not have the character qualifications needed for valid ministry. The foundational, personal issues have not been dealt with and Jesus’ character have yet to be formed in them. As a result, often, they cause local leaders much grief and anxiety, leaving them with a mess to clean up after they leave.

Sometimes because of the gift and anointing we overlook the character flaws, carelessly thinking that the gifts and anointing make up for it. We think because they are anointed and gifted that we really don’t have the right to question their character and lifestyle.

However, the Bible states that “the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable…” (Romans 11:29). God decides whom to give gifts to, and it is up to us individually to submit ourselves to His discipline and accountability in order to grow in godly character so we can handle all that the gifts and the calling on our lives bring us. It is sad, but true, that some gifted and anointed fivefold leaders hide behind the “do not touch God’s anointed” verse (Psalm 105:15) which they use to silence people from questioning or criticizing them. Their character lacks substance, but they think that having a unique gift and calling entitles them to unconditional authority and special privileges and that no one should ever question them or speak into their lives.

An honourable character is of utmost importance before being released into the fivefold ministry. Otherwise they will damage more than their own ministry. They will damage God’s people and the Church that Jesus is building.

In the Old Testament character was already a qualifier for a long-term sustainable and powerful ministry. Psalm 15:1-5 states:

“Lord, who may abide in Your tabernacle?
Who may dwell in Your holy hill?
He who walks uprightly,
And works righteousness,
And speaks the truth in his heart;
He who does not backbite with his tongue,
Nor does evil to his neighbor,
Nor does he take up a reproach against his friend;
In whose eyes a vile person is despised,
But he honors those who fear the Lord;
He who swears to his own hurt and does not change;
He who does not put out his money at usury,
Nor does he take a bribe against the innocent.
He who does these things shall never be moved.”

In 1 Timothy 3:1-7, we find the specific character qualifications for “overseers.” While fivefold ministers are not necessarily overseers, there is a similar test of character that has to be evident in their lives as well.

“This is a faithful saying:If a man desires the position of a bishop, he desires a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober- minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach; not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous; one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?); not a novice, lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil. Moreover he must have a good testimony among those who are outside, lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.”

We will look at these amazing verses in some depth starting tomorrow…

Qualifications of the Fivefold Minister – Part One

Those who have longevity in the fivefold ministry have made their character a focus and a priority. Like Stephen, they are full of faith (Acts 6:3-5). They have spent quality time with Jesus and allowed Him to form and mould them. They have determined that they will serve and view themselves as servants of God’s people, just as Jesus is, by nature, a servant. He, in fact, looks for those who have a servant’s heart.

He is not looking for those who are out to make a name for themselves or to build a ministry for themselves. He is looking for individuals who are sold out to Him and love Him with their whole heart and want to advance the Kingdom of God regardless of the personal cost. Leaders who are not looking to be noticed or recognized. Leaders who are looking to see the Kingdom move forward so that people are blessed by God and walking in obedience to all that Jesus commanded. He is looking for those with godly character because character plays a major role in releasing them into a sustainable fivefold ministry.

Character is not a foundation qualification for discipleship but it is always a qualifier for those in leadership roles, especially the fivefold ministry. Character, however, is what must be formed during a person’s initial discipleship stage and their walk with Jesus. It is more than knowing the faith they now claim – it is being formed into the very image of Jesus as they begin their walk with Him. It is learning from Him and becoming more like Him. It is seeing His character and letting Him change you into His likeness.

Jesus took the twelve “rough and ready” disciples, discipled them for three years, filled them with the Holy Spirit, released them to be world changers and leaders in His Church birthed on that day. During the three years they walked with Him character issues were a main focus and Jesus dealt directly with their character. As a result, after Pentecost, as leaders in the Church, they were able to withstand the ridicule and abuse as well as the praise and adoration that came to them at various stages of their ministry experience. They were able to go the distance and finish well. Finishing well should be the desire of everyone in leadership.

In today’s television and internet culture we often hear of leaders who had a tremendous anointing but did not have the character to handle that kind of anointing and fell into issues that destroyed their ministries. This is almost always the result of not focusing on and developing character. It is critical that leaders develop the character that the Lord lays out for them in His family, the Church. This character and its qualities are found in the New Testament. Otherwise, the pressure, fame, and demands of ministry cause them to stumble and fall and cause others to fall away from the faith as well. As believers and leaders, we should strive to be among those who run well and who finish well. Godly character is the key to making that a reality.

So, in the next few days I want to look at character and what is included in this important area of every believer’s life.



The Biblical Church An Overview

We are the Church

The saints – The disciples – The believers – The Christians (born again, Spirit-filled)

The be a member of the Church (Not a ‘card-carrying’ member but a true member connected by the Holy Spirit and not man-made systems):

Must be born again … supernatural rebirth by the power of the Holy Spirit

And, baptized in water by immersion:

1> Death to self and rising to live for Jesus

2> Public declaration of your faith

3> Become a part of the Body of Christ Read more

Fivefold Ministers and the Local Church – Part Seven

Fivefold ministers operate within a specific field of ministry. Paul encouraged the early Christians to boast only “within the limits of their sphere of ministry.” These fields of ministry, assigned by God to us, are our spheres of influence, responsibility, and anointing. Working within the sphere means we are working under His authority. If we move out of our sphere of influence we are then working without His authority which, of course, is very dangerous.

2 Corinthians 10:12-13 “For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise. We, however, will not boast beyond measure, but within the limits of the sphere which God appointed us—a sphere which especially includes you.”

Paul understood his sphere of influence and reminded the Corinthians that he was only to operate in the sphere God had appointed to him. He only boasted of the Corinthian Church because he was responsible before the Lord for them. His sphere included the local church he was a part of (the Church in Antioch – Acts 13), the churches he planted and who looked to them as their spiritual father, and those who adopted him as their spiritual father and came in under his influence and protection.

Of course, when travelling outside his own home church the fivefold minister must stay within his geographic boundaries as set by the Lord. His sphere of influence or “metron.” But even within this sphere of influence he must wait to be invited in to a local church by the local leadership of that church.

As a fivefold minister, the only way I can effectively minister in another person’s area of responsibility is when I am invited. When I’m invited into their field, I need to understand and acknowledge that someone else has ultimate responsibility for the health and welfare of the people to whom I am going to minister. I must come into that “outside area” to help those who are in authority there acknowledging and understanding that someone else has final authority over their area. It is within my sphere of influence, the geographical area the Lord has called me to minister in; but, I still wait to be invited and called by the local authority over that specific local church or network.

For fivefold ministers, probably 95% of their ministry is in someone else’s field. A fivefold trans-local minister’s attitude must always be one of, “We are here to help others build what the Holy Spirit is building. It is not about building our own ministry, it is about serving the Lord and serving this particular church and local leadership, co-labouring with them in their field. They have final authority in their field.” Approaching ministry with that attitude and understanding, helps the fivefold ministry to be an asset rather than a threat to a local leadership team.

Fivefold Ministers and the Local Church – Part Six

At times the fivefold ministers miss seeing and calling out a gift or calling on someone’s life. This can happen for many reasons. If this is the case it is perfectly alright and permissible for the individual to approach the church leadership, including resident fivefold ministers, and ask if he can be mentored in his gift. An individual should share what he senses about his gift and submit it to the local leadership for their discernment. They may say that more development and experience is needed, or ask that the person attend some training sessions or other times of impartation relating to their gift and calling. But, the gift and calling is recognized which is the start of developing that gift and calling.

As the person submits the gift and calling to the leadership, they will, in time, sense the heart of the person and trust will be built. When trust is built, the person is well on their way to seeing their gift publicly recognized and released. Of course, the person must show personal initiative by coming to meetings prepared to ask questions, by reading books and asking questions, and going to hear and experience others who have the same calling or gifts. It is up to the person to work to see his gifts and calling develop and so he must be proactive and initiate meetings and learning experiences. He can be guided and directed by leaders but they are not there to motivate and push him.

Another aspect of the way that fivefold ministers work in and relate to the local church … Fivefold ministers submit to those in authority.

It is a fallacy for the fivefold minister to think that once he starts to move in the power and anointing of the Holy Spirit, he does not have to submit to the authority of the leaders of his local church and the leaders of the churches where he travels to minister. He may have a stronger set of gifts and a more powerful calling upon his life, but the leaders have been placed in the local church by God and they are thus the authority for that body of people. He must submit both locally and trans-locally

Fivefold ministers are members of a local church. As such, they should always be willing to be mentored by those who are placed in spiritual authority over them (Hebrews 13:17). When the Lord places individuals in a local church, He does so for their protection and not to hold them back. There is tremendous freedom in that. And, when the fivefold minister travels out to other churches he again submits to those the Lord has placed in authority over that local assembly. When his time ministering is finished as he travels from place to place the local leaders are the ones who are responsible to God for all that has transpired during his time with them. Thus, he must submit to their authority.

For example, when I am travelling I try my best to do all that the local leader requests of me. Even if it has been a long day and I am tired, if he asks me to go with him to visit someone he knows or another pastor he relates to I always say yes. I am there to serve him. If someone comes up to me and asks if they can have time with me because they are in need of counsel; I tell them to ask the pastor and if he says “yes” then I will certainly do as he asks. I am there submitted to the local authorities and to serve them.

Going back to the local home church of the fivefold minister… It is important to understand that the fivefold should speak into the leadership of the church and give them advice when asked. But, it is also the leadership team’s responsibility to make the final decisions as to how it will be carried out. Likewise, leadership teams need to listen to and take advice from the fivefold ministers or things will come out the wrong way at the wrong place at the wrong time.

Fivefold and the Local Church – Part Five

As we continue looking at the fivefold ministry roles within the local church we see that another task of the fivefold apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor and teacher is to release and mentor the callings upon people in the local church until they reach a place of maturity.

Those who are in the fivefold ministry see the local church as a training ground for ministry. They allow people to use their gifts in the church as much as possible even before the gift has matured. Of course, this means that the fivefold minister must be willing to mentor the gifts and the callings upon people. At times, this means bring correction when necessary, even in a public meeting.

When I am training people to flow in the gift of prophecy and they are working alongside of me in a public service, I correct their words if they are wrong. Of course this is done lovingly and with the understanding that the prophetic gift is given by the Holy Spirit but the skills to use that gift need to be learned.

For example, I had a young man with me in a service and he prophesied that God was giving a person the “gift of evangelism.” I stopped him and corrected him. There is no such gift as the “gift of evangelism.” Everyone is called to evangelize. If some have the gift then those that don’t are free not to tell others about Jesus. Obviously this is not the case. So, I corrected him and taught the people that some are called to the role of evangelist which is a gift to the church (Ephesians 4:11) but that there is no such individual gift as the “gift of evangelism.” Some are better at it than others but that is simply because they have been taught and trained and have been telling others about the Saviour and thus improving in their evangelistic skills.

Fivefold ministers will encourage those with the calling to fivefold teacher to work at writing teachings, learning to study, learning how to correctly work with Scripture, and release them to teach in small group settings or when travelling with them. The small group is an excellent place to develop the gifts and callings.

This fathering role cannot be done solely by phone. There has to be personal contact on a regular basis as all mentoring is done relationally. To be a spiritual father means you are caring for the spiritual health and well being of the one you are mentoring. This means having adequate and consistent personal contact. It also means that the person being trained must be willing to submit to the one fathering him. In this way the spiritual father can bring correction and direction; watch their borders to make sure they stay on track; sound an alarm if they see things going wrong; and generally make sure that the young person is moving forward, growing, and learning. Of course, they should also travel with the mentor and thus observe how the spiritual father ministers, how he deals with people and situations, and how they live their lives for Christ while on the road ministering.

The fathering role of the fivefold ministers cannot be overrated. It is seriously important and absolutely necessary for the Church to reach  maturity and for the next generation of fivefold ministers to reach maturity and continue to lead the Church into the fullness of Christ.






The Journey Continues

1 Corinthians 1:1-9 I, Paul, have been called and sent by Jesus, the Messiah, according to God’s plan, along with my friend Sosthenes. I send this letter to you in God’s church at Corinth, Christians cleaned up by Jesus and set apart for a God–filled life. I include in my greeting all who call out to Jesus, wherever they live. He’s their Master as well as ours! May all the gifts and benefits that come from God our Father, and the Master, Jesus Christ, be yours. Every time I think of you – and I think of you often! – I thank God for your lives of free and open access to God, given by Jesus. There’s no end to what has happened in you – it’s beyond speech, beyond knowledge. The evidence of Christ has been clearly verified in your lives. Just think – you don’t need a thing, you’ve got it all! All God’s gifts are right in front of you as you wait expectantly for our Master Jesus to arrive on the scene for the Finale. And not only that, but God himself is right alongside to keep you steady and on track until things are all wrapped up by Jesus. God, who got you started in this spiritual adventure, shares with us the life of his Son and our Master Jesus. He will never give up on you. Never forget that. (The Message Version) Read more

Fivefold and the Local Church – Part Four

Let’s look a little closer at accountability before leaving this topic.

A fivefold individual ministers within a sphere or field of influence where he is called. Thus his sphere of ministry establishes to whom he is accountable. Because, as he travels, he submits to the regional leaders and is accountable to them. He does not come in over them to control but under their authority to serve. Thus, he is accountable to them for what he does and does not do in the area.

A fivefold individual ministers within a local church – from a small house church to a mega church – and receives accountability for his ministry from the local leadership team of that local church. Again, he comes in under their authority and with their permission to serve them and relates and reports to them.

A fivefold trans-local individual can also minister in a family of churches and thus would receive accountability from the apostolic leadership of that family of churches – or, from an outside apostle that comes in to the family of churches. However, accountability for his personal life comes mostly from the leadership team of his local church (see yesterday’s blog) he attends. In brief, there is some prayer support that comes from the apostolic leadership of the family of churches, but most of the practical accountability comes from those who walk with him in everyday life in his local church.

A fivefold trans-local individual ministers to the body of Christ at large but he cannot be accountable in any proper depth within each ministry situation. Accountable for what he ministers but not for who he is. So, in this regard he continues to see his accountability structure while travelling and ministering to the church connected to the apostolic leadership of the local church or the family of churches that releases him to travel. Those that sent him out. There is some accountability as well from “apostolic fathers” in the church at large. Accountability for much of his personal life still comes from the local church. But if there is a problem with his personal life and the local leaders are unable to deal with it, the apostolic leaders should be brought in to assist the local leadership.

What this means in relationship to his ministry is that if Joe Prophet prophesies something over Jane Christian that is clearly out of order, it is the responsibility of the leadership that released Joe to deal with the issue and bring correction. If Joe is a fivefold minister in the local church, the local leadership team walks through the correction and adjustment. If Joe was released by the leadership to the family of churches or to the larger body of Christ, then the apostolic leadership needs to bring adjustment and correction because it is outside the field of ministry of the local congregation.