The Fivefold Ministry
As God raises up the Fivefold Ministry in evern denomination, there is a scramble for the truth. At Apostolic Movement International, we are not only presenting that truth, but raising up God's leaders to take their place in the church. While not everyone with a ministry calling is called to hold a Fivefold Ministry office, those that are are called to a vigourous training by the Holy Spirit.
If you have a Fivefold Ministry calling, not only do we have what you are looking for, but we are here to help you take the next step in your road. Avail yourself of the many free teachings on this division dedicated to the Fivefold Ministry. For m ore, subscribe to one of our free training courses or visit our bookshop for more.
Why A Clear Definition Is Needed
By Apostle Les D. Crause
The most common passage of Scripture on which the concept of the Fivefold Ministry is based, is Eph 4:11:
Ephesians 4:11 And He Himself gave some apostles, and some prophets; and some evangelists; and some pastors and teachers;
12 For the equipping of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the building up of the body of Christ:
13 Till we all arrive at unanimous agreement concerning the faith, and the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the level of maturity of the complete Christ: (GMR)
Here are some additional concepts which also need to be taken into account in understanding the Fivefold Ministry:
1. According to Granville Sharp's rule in Greek Grammar, the list given in Eph 4:11 does not strictly define five ministries, but four. The pastor and teacher are considered extensions of the same ministry. Because of this the fivefold ministry has been rejected by many students over a long period of time.
2. This passage does not clarify the difference between Fivefold Ministry Functions and Fivefold Ministry Offices, which are not the same thing. Thus a clear definition must be made of the difference between these two.
3. In 1 Cor 12:28 Paul appears to reduce the fivefold ministry even further to a threefold ministry. This, combined with the complete absence of direct mention of the Pastor in the Acts of the apostles, leads to much confusion concerning the distinction of each ministry in the New Testament Church.
4. Church history shows that until the first manifestations of the operations of the fivefold ministries became apparent with the appearance of supernatural gifts, the only ministry that was recognized for the longest time was the Pastor, combined with the Teaching ministry in the form of Pastor-Teacher.
The appearance of evangelistic ministries led to the acceptance also of the Evangelist. But only in recent years has any credence been given to the Prophetic Ministry and finally the Apostolic ministry.
5. A clear definition of and understanding of the existence and operation of the fivefold ministries has therefore become necessary.
A Confusing Passage Presented
1 Corinthians 12:28 And God set in place in
the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, next
gifts of healings, supports, directors, various different tongues.
29 [Are] all apostles? [are] all prophets? [are] all teachers? [are] all workers of miracles?
30 Do all have the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?
1. This passage seems to mention only three of the Fivefold Ministries, and then adds several others which do not seem to fit in the list at all.
2. Not only are two of the fivefold ministry left out, but the remaining three are presented in a kind of order of priority, or seniority.
3. Since this passage is found in the chapter which also addresses the Gifts of the Spirit, it is generally taught that the order given was one of establishment. God gave the apostles first, and then came the prophets and finally the teachers. The Apostles came to lay the foundation and this was completed by the Prophets, since the Church is said to be built on the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets.
4. Thus since apostles and prophets are no longer needed, the foundation having been laid effectively the only real ministry that still exists is the Teacher, or more specifically the Pastor-Teacher, since the two ministries are one according to Eph 4:11.
5. The final appeal is given to the history of the Church, and the total absence of the members of the fivefold ministry, with the exception of the local minister or pastor.
Whilst it is not the intention in this summary to fully explain this passage, it is easy however to locate the Fivefold Ministry by separating verse 28 using the words - first, second, third, then and next.
You will then see the ministries mentioned in the following order, which is the true Scriptural priority order:
- 1. Apostles.
- 2. Prophets.
- 3. Teachers.
- 4. Evangelists.
- 5. Pastors.
Using this division you will also find a better understanding of the functions of the last two ministries.
NOTE: Apostle Les was the apostolic father of Apostolic Movement International. He has since handed the work of the ministry over to Apostles Craig and Colette Toach and moved on to establish a new mandate at www.gbr-i.com