The Fivefold Ministry refers to the five ministry roles of Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor and Teacher. They are a biblical establishment by Jesus Christ and are given as a blueprint to equip people and grow the Kingdom.
When Jesus walked on earth, He exemplified the perfect ministry and was the full embodiment of all the gifting together. Because Jesus lives in us and through us, God accomplishes His purpose on earth through His people. You see this in Philippians 2:13, which says, for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. Within each of the saints, you find the various manifestations of the Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor and Teacher within the Body of Christ. Each person is given a gift, a role, and a part of the Body to continue the work of Christ.
The five offices are not man-made. Therefore they are not taught in school or a training session. These offices are appointed and anointed to people by Jesus Christ. They are gifts that come with an anointing on them. So you can not make a true Pastor a Prophet or Evangelist or anything else, because that is not the call or anointing on their life. You can only operate in the office that you are anointed for.
The Fivefold Ministry is important because it helps equip God’s people to fulfill His will and purpose on earth. The Fivefold Ministers help prepare the Body for their spiritual callings. They also increase the knowledge about God, Jesus and the Kingdom. They are to mature the saints to be able to stand in the face of the challenges and deceits of the World. The Fivefold Ministry is a framework to grow, build and mature the Body to continue the workings of Jesus through the lives of the saints.
Let’s take a look at each individual gift and what their function is.
An Apostle is someone who carries the Lord’s message or teaching across geographical regions. Building up the Body of Christ. A true Apostle brings the people of God together. Every God-ordained group, or church, must have an apostolic vision. Proverbs 29:18 says, where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he. The people of God cannot grow in Him without a vision of what they are, where they are going, and where they are.
The true message of God will bring the people into divine order. It is the business of the true Apostle to bring order by the power of the message of God in them. An Apostle is one called and sent by Christ to have spiritual authority, character, gifts and abilities to reach and establish people, in Kingdom truth and order. They are the Dream Awakeners in the Kingdom of God.
A Prophet is someone who has direct communication with God and can share what they heard for Him to others. They bring clarity to an area where there is a lack of discernment.
Prophets reveal God’s heart to His people, giving guidance to individual and the Body. Giving revelation as well as interpretation, application and timing. A Prophet represents the interests of God to the people. Having stood in the council of God, the Prophet releases a clarion call to the people of what is in God’s heart at the moment. 1 Corinthians 14:3 says that, But one who prophecies speaks to men for edification and exhortation and consolation. They are Heart Revealers in the Kingdom of God.
An Evangelist spreads the Word of salvation by sharing the good news of Jesus Christ to unbelievers. They carry a great burden for those who are not part of the kingdom of God yet, and an anointing to preach the gospel to them that comes with great conviction and draws them to the Lord. They will often have signs and wonders following them to confirm their message.
The Evangelist must be equipped not only with the power of the Holy Ghost, but with the Gifts of the Spirit. They are the carrier of good news and they stir curiosity and desire to know Jesus. An evangelist is a story teller in the Kingdom of God.
The word Pastor in greek is translated as shepherd. The Pastor is the heart of the church. They are a shepherd who cares deeply for their sheep. They are ready to lay everything down for their flock.
The Pastor leads the church, teaches God’s Word and helps care for the spiritual needs of their congregation. The Pastor’s greatest concern is always the well-being of his sheep. Not only bringing training, but correction and protection where necessary.
They are Soul Healers in the Kingdom of God. They are instrumental in guiding people through brokenness back to wholeness and healing their soul from wounds that keep them where they are.
The Teacher pulls out the mysteries of God and teaches them in a way that believers can understand. They teach and edify the church, imparting divine life and anointing to their listeners who become more hungry for the Word of God.
Teachers are Light givers in the Kingdom of God. They make the truth and knowledge about God accessible to all. They have an ability for breaking confusion and misinformation.
The diagram of the hand represents the hand of God on earth. The thumb is the Apostle because he functions in all five gifts. The pointer finger is the Prophet because he gives direction. The middle finger is the Evangelist because he has the most reach. The ring finger is the Pastor because he is married to the sheep. And the pinky finger is the teacher because he brings balance to the Body of Christ.
The Fivefold Ministry is an important part of what makes the Body of Christ function properly. Each member of the Body of Christ has a role to play. The Fivefold Ministry is to equip the Body of Christ to function in their gifts. Only when the Church on this earth becomes what Christ meant her to be, with all offices in place, will we truly come into full maturity and have the ability to fulfill the commission our Master gave us. Which is to make disciples of all nations, doing the same works He did, and even greater.