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Fivefold Ministry Gifts in the Bible

The fivefold ministry gifts in the bible

January 20, 2024

The fivefold ministry has a biblical foundation. It comprises the different roles of leadership in the church to help equip the saints. The fivefold ministry in the bible has a unique undertone that makes it crucial. Each ministry gift plays a vital role in the spiritual growth and unity of the Church, as shown in the Scriptures.

Where is the fivefold ministry in the bible?

The Five Fold Ministry is derived from Ephesians 4:11-13. The scripture mentions five distinct roles—apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers—whose function is to edify and build the Church.

Is Fivefold ministry biblical?

The biblical foundation of the Five Fold Ministry is rooted in Paul’s writings, particularly Ephesians and Corinthians, emphasizing the diverse gifts within the body of Christ. The bible mentions different kinds of gifts, these gifts are divided into three and the fivefold ministry gift is one of the three. This gift is an office or a role in the church.

What is the purpose of the fivefold ministry gifts?

The fivefold ministry gifts and their functions
Image by Jo Justino from Pixabay

The purpose of the ministry gifts is clearly stated in Ephesians 4:11-16; the roles of the fivefold ministry include:

1. Equipping the Saints

The ministry gifts are given to equip believers for service, helping us discover and use our spiritual gifts in fulfilling our roles within the body of Christ.

2. Building Unity

The goal is to promote unity within the church, activating a sense of oneness among believers despite our diverse backgrounds, gifts, and roles.

3. Attaining Maturity

 The ministry gifts aim to contribute to the spiritual growth and maturity of individual believers and the church as a whole.

4. Help believers reach the fullness of Christ

Ultimately, the purpose is to bring the church to a state of fullness in Christ, where believers are mature, grounded in faith, and actively living out their calling in service to God and others.

What are the fivefold ministry gifts?

The Fivefold ministry gifts are namely: Apostles, Prophets, Teachers, Pastors and Evangelists.

The fivefold ministry gifts and their roles in the church

In this section, we will look at each of the ministry gifts, their roles and how they function in the church today.

 Apostles

Apostles are guardians of the truths and doctrines of the church. They have a responsibility to preach and teach the word of God while establishing churches to help believers stay grounded in faith. The term “apostle” is derived from the Greek word “apostolos,” meaning one who is sent forth. They are sent forth to preach and declare the truths of the word.

Apostolic Ministry in the Early Church

In the early Church, apostles were instrumental in spreading the Gospel, performing signs and wonders, and laying foundations for growing Christian community.

Role and Characteristics of Apostles

The roles of Apostles include:

1. They are foundational leaders, who serve in pioneering roles, establishing churches.

2. They carry the Gospel to unreached regions.

3. They serve as guardian of the gospel, never compromising the standards of Christ and the church.

They are usually able to manifest all the spiritual gifts depending on the direction God wants to move through them. The most common spiritual gifts include the gift of great faith, word of wisdom, word of knowledge, discernment of spirit, and working of miracles.

The role of apostles in this end times is still the same. There is a need for more people to heed this call, standing firm on the truths of Jesus and illuminating the path of the church. Many times Apostles can function in any of the fivefold office.

 Prophets

The office of the prophet is vital in the church. Although, the office has often been misused and bastardised, it doesn’t undermine the function of the office.

Nature and Function of Prophets

The function of the gift includes:

1. Prophets are called to speak forth God’s word, bringing revelation, correction, and guidance to the Church.

2. They have the responsibility to speak their word and bring repentance by their words.

3. They act as guides when there is a need for clear instructions and direction from God.

What is the significance of the Office of Prophets in the New Testament?

Throughout biblical history, prophets acted as God’s messengers, warning, encouraging, and revealing divine truths to His people. In the Old Testament, they were fierce, never intimidated and they always called for repentance.

In the New Testament church, prophets are also an integral part of the church. The Holy Spirit can reveal God’s mind to every believer. I believe believers need to grow to the point where they can hear God themselves but he can use the office of the prophet to make clear an instruction.

I am reminded of the story of Agabus (Acts 11:27-30). In Acts 21: 7-12, he prophesied about the challenges Paul would face if he went to Jerusalem, and his prophecy came to pass swiftly. We are encouraged not to discredit prophecy but rather to test the Spirit behind the prophecy by discerning through the Holy Spirit.

The gifts of the spirit commonly displayed by pastors are gifts of prophecy, diverse kinds of tongues, words of wisdom and words of knowledge.

Evangelists

Evangelists have a strong desire to take the gospel to the remote places of the earth. The office of the evangelist is one with a burning desire to preach to lost souls and draw them to the cross.

Characteristics and Responsibilities of Evangelists

1. Evangelists are passionate about the Gospel.

2. They are dedicated to sharing the Good News and bringing souls to Christ.

3. They bring souls to Christ and hand them over to a shepherd for equipping and raising them.

Significance of Evangelists in the New Testament Church

Evangelism, in the New Testament, emphasizes reaching out to the lost. The office of the evangelist brings conviction and many times they manifest the gift of faith, working of miracles, and the gift of healing. 

 Pastors

Pastors are primary caregivers. They act like doctors who treat patients brought to the hospitals, helping them to become healed. Pastors are shepherds who feed the flock and help them to grow.

The fivefold ministry gifts
Photo by Abel Tan Jun Yang

Role of Pastors in Shepherding and Care

The roles of pastors are many and it is sometimes decided by the nature of the church or geographical location of the church but, there are basic biblical roles of pastors which include:

1. Pastors feed the church with the word of God.

2. They have a responsibility to discern the correct balanced diet needed by their congregation.

3. They pray for the believers in their care.

4. They guide, counsel and help the sheep to stay on the right path.

5. They instruct, rebuke and encourage the church.

6. They must have a strong spiritual standing because the integrity of the church is on their shoulders.

Scriptural Basis for Pastoral Ministry

The pastoral ministry finds its roots in Christ as the Good Shepherd and is pivotal in leading, feeding, and safeguarding the Church. One of the parables of Jesus that reminds me of pastoral care is the parable of the lost sheep (Matthew 18:12-14). Jesus told the story of a shepherd who left the other ninety-nine sheep to look for that one sheep who was lost. This is a typical characteristic of a pastor.

it doesn’t make sense the shepherd left 99 to look for one, until that one is you.

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A pastor in the New Testament church has a key role. They have a special place in my heart because it is difficult to fulfil this role with the distraction and side attractions of the end time. While Paul was writing to Timothy in 1 Timothy 1: 3-4, he encouraged him not to be distracted but rather focused on the pure biblical teaching.

The gifts of the spirit commonly displayed by pastors are word of wisdom, discerning spirit, and word of knowledge.

 Teachers

Teachers as the name implies teach the word of God in a different dimension. They have the God-given ability to explain the word in a way that can be easily understood.

Attributes and Functions of Teachers

1. Teachers impart knowledge, understanding, and wisdom through the teaching of God’s Word.

2. They are vital in helping believers learn the mysteries of the word of God.

3. They derive joy when people get an understanding of the word of God.

Teaching Ministry in the New Testament

The teaching ministry, which was exemplified by our Lord Jesus and Apostle Paul, emphasizes doctrinal understanding and spiritual growth. The teaching ministry I needed in his end times because there is a great need for the true word of God to be taught to all believers and nations of the word.

The gifts of the spirit commonly displayed by teachers are word of wisdom, discerning spirit, and word of knowledge.

Which of the ministry gifts is more important?

None of the gifts is more important than the other. All gifts have the same purpose and God wants us to form a synergy by using our gifts in unity.

How can the Five Fold Ministry Equip Believers?

Through teaching, guidance, prophetic insight, evangelism, and pastoral care, believers are empowered for service and maturity in Christ.

The Impact of the Five-Fold Ministry on Church Unity

The diverse ministry gifts bring unity by complementing each other’s strengths, and weaknesses, contributing to a unified body of Christ.

Application of the fivefold ministry today

Embracing these ministry gifts fosters spiritual vitality, enabling churches to thrive and impact society. Churches can integrate these ministry gifts by recognizing and nurturing individuals called to these roles.

These are some helpful books about the subject of ministry gifts:

  1. He gave gifts unto men by Kenneth E. Hagin
  2. The gift of prophecy by Kenneth E. Hagin

The fivefold ministry gifts in the bible
The fivefold ministry gifts in the bible. Ephesians 4:11-13

Final Thoughts

The Five Fold Ministry remains foundational in building strong, healthy churches and empowering believers for impactful service. We should encourage believers to heed the call of God upon their lives and also encourage those who are not called into the fivefold ministry.

We should all remember that the aim of these gifts is never to oppress or rule over others but to guide and help others grow in their faith by serving them.

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