Discovering Your Unique Role in Equipping Others (APEST)
Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. Ephesians 4:11-12
As you come to understand your Spiritual Gifting and how these intersected passion and calling. At the core of our gifting is what some call a “base gifting”. This base gifting helps make sense not only of our unique role in expanding God’s kingdom in the places He has called us, but also of our unique role in equipping others. You will notice how your spiritual gifting is part of this base gifting. Mike Breen states,
You have been created to do something that comes quite naturally to you and where you find the most life. One way to discover your base gifting is to think about each of the 5-Fold gifts (Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Teacher, Pastor) and ask yourself, “What are the things I canʼt help but keep doing?” For instance, if youʼre someone who is constantly starting new things and never really having to think about it, you just keep doing it, chances are youʼre an Apostle. If youʼre someone who, upon finding something captivating and exciting to you, shares that with everyone they know, chances are youʼre an Evangelist (does everyone you know own that one CD you fell in love with?). You get the picture. Of these 5-fold gifts, which one comes most naturally and gives you the most life?
Jr Woodward articulates these five base giftings as the “five equippers”:
It is helpful to understand the five equippers in a three dimensional way – calling, ministry and equipper/leader. The fivefold typology shapes everybody’s calling (Eph. 4:7), everyone ministers through at least one of these five ministry streams, but not all will equip and lead others. In other words, some people may be recognized as apostles (equipper/leader), but the whole community is to be apostolic. Some will be called evangelists, but the whole community is to be evangelistic. Alan Hirsch and Tim Catchim in The Permanent Revolution make the case that Ephesians 4 is not just a leadership text, but a text about calling, ministry and leadership.
Here is an expanded summary of these five equipping roles and how we function in them from JR Woodward. As you read these try to determine which you are. Keep in mind everyone has one primary and one secondary.
Apostles are dream awakeners. Their heart is driven to awaken people and communities to join God in the renewal of all things. The primary concern of apostles is to help people and communities live out their calling in the church and world. They are sent by God to create a discipleship ethos and to call people to participate in the advancement of God’s kingdom. Apostles seek to help people understand and live out their calling. While they can wear any of the equippers hats, they seek to build a team of equippers who activate the entire body to fulfill God’s mission in the world through the church.
Prophets are heart revealers. They reveal the heart of God and the hearts of those in the church. The primary concern of prophets is that the community pursues God’s shalom. They do this by cultivating a liberating environment that calls the church to live in God’s new social order and stand with the poor and the oppressed, in the power of the Spirit.
Evangelists are story tellers. The primary concern of evangelist is helping the community to incarnate the good news in their neighborhood. They help to cultivate a welcoming environment that helps the community practice hospitality as a way of life. They invite the community to proclaim the good news by being witnesses and being redemptive agents in their vocation and neighborhood. They help the community to live and share the good news of Jesus. “Evangelists” will remind their communities that God has chosen them to listen to others stories and share their story and God’s story.
Shepherds also known as “Pastors” are soul healers. They help us work through past hurts and pursue wholeness, not just individually but in the context of community. Pastors help the whole community cultivate a life-giving spirituality and embody reconciliation. Pastors seek to bring healing and wholeness to people and relationships.
Teachers are light givers. They shed light on the Bible and help us understand it in a life-giving and liberating way. They create a learning environment where people immerse themselves in the scriptures in order to be formed by them. They shed light on the text in such a way that people hear the voice of God through the scripture. They seek to help people understand God’s narrative so that they may live faithfully in God’s story and become signposts of the New Creation. They help God’s people remember the Bible is a voice to be heard, not just a book to read.
Take the assessment here to discover yours!