"He gave some to be apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers" (Eph. 4:11).
God's Gift Revealed to Us and Through Us
Under the old covenant, the primary way God spoke to His people was through the prophets. In these last days of the New Covenant, He speaks to us through His Son. But Jesus only physically walked on this earth for 33 years, so how does He accomplish this today?
An important and foundational way He speaks is through written word. Another significant way is by the gift of the Holy Spirit. Jesus comforted His disciples by explaining to them that the Holy Spirit would come to teach them and bring to remembrance all the things He had said (John 14:26).
Ephesians 4:7-16 reveals that another gift Jesus Himself gave as a result of His first coming was that of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. Since Jesus would no longer physically walk the earth, He divided up His ministry qualities and gifts and distributed them among people.
The gift of Jesus' attributes is meant to equip, mature and edify His children to completely come into the fullness of Christ. We can sometimes grow critical, cynical or mistrustful of those with fivefold ministry gifts, yet God Himself chose this method to dwell with us.
Some Sobering Statistics
Recently, good friends of ours who pastored a local church were divorced and left their position. The pressures and demands of ministry simply became too much for this couple to handle.
Our friends are not alone. Lately, I've encountered some sobering statistics:
— 1800 pastors leave the ministry every month.
— 40% of pastors will not be in ministry in 10 years.
— 50% of pastors feel unable to meet the needs of the job.
— 80% believe that pastoral ministry negatively affects their families.
— 45% of pastors say they've experienced depression or burnout to the extent they needed a leave of absence from ministry.
— 33% felt burned out within their first five years of ministry.
There is no way to entirely alleviate the pressure that pastors face on a daily basis. However, the strain is greatly compounded when the fivefold ministry gifts are not fully operating in churches today.
It is not God's intention for pastors to equip and build up the body alone. There are no Scriptures that even suggest that one senior shepherd has been given everything necessary to perfect a particular congregation.
Fivefold ministers are meant to cooperate in their special giftings and abilities, and together, they govern, guide, gather, ground and guard God's people.
To read the rest of this article, visit starfireministries.org.
Is there a fivefold ministry gift in you? Find out five affirmations to help you determine whether you do. Don't get locked into what the equipping gifts look like—discover how they operate both within and beyond the four walls of the church today. To find out more, listen to this episode, Why Fivefold Ministry Is Essential, on Preparing the Way on Charisma Podcast Network now.
Diane Lake is a writer, speaker and minister ordained with both Christian International and Generals International. Her articles are regularly featured on The Elijah List, as well as platforms like Charisma Magazine, Intercessors For America and others. She and her husband, Allen, co-founded Starfire Ministries with a vision to see the kingdom established beyond the four walls of the traditional church. They host a podcast with Charisma Podcast Network, and serve as church mountain, regional, and montana coordinators for the Reformation Prayer Network, and as media mountain leader/facilitators for C.I.'s Culture Influencers.
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