What Does My Spiritual Gifting Mean?
● From the Greek apostolos meaning “one who is sent out.”
● Apostles are visionary and pioneering, always pushing into new territory.
● They like to establish new churches, ministries, non-profits, Kingdom-minded businesses or initiatives. They come up with innovative means to do kingdom work.
● Biblical examples — the Twelve, Paul, Priscilla and Aquilla.
● Jesus’ example — Jesus was the one sent by God (John 3:16).
● Apostles enjoy dreaming, doing new and challenging tasks, and change.
● Secular examples — entrepreneurs, explorers.
● Core question Apostles ask: Are we leading the people of God to their destiny?
● Starting Point: “I can do this!”
● One who hears and listens to God (prophetes);
● The Prophet foretells and tells forth revelation from God. Often Prophets are able to stand back from circumstances to get a clear picture of what is happening and therefore see creative solutions and develop a vision for situations others don’t see.
● Prophets understand the times and what people should do.
● Biblical examples — Anna and Simeon in Luke 2 as they prophesy over the infant Jesus. Agabus in Acts 11:28 and 21:10 when he predicts a famine and prophesies about Paul. Philip’s daughters in Acts 21:9 were all known as prophetesses.
● Jesus’ example — Every word spoken from the mouth of Jesus was revelation from God. Jesus often foretold events such as Peter’s denial and the details of his own death. He, himself, is the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy concerning the Messiah such as found in Isaiah 53.
● Prophets enjoy being alone with God, waiting, listening.
● Secular examples — people who speak out their perceptions. They’re often creative types, musicians, and artists.
● Core question Prophets ask: Are the people of God hearing his voice and responding appropriately?
● Starting Point: “I hear God.”
● One who brings good news and shares the message readily
● Evangelists love spending time with non-Christians and often remind other Christians that there are non-Christians still out there in the world.
● Evangelists are not necessarily all like Billy Graham; they may be “people gatherers.”
● Evangelists know the Word and can make it relevant to non-Christians.
● Biblical examples — Philip in Acts 8:12. The people believed Philip when he preached. Timothy given the gift of evangelism (2 Tim 4:5)
● Jesus’ example — Jesus embodied the Good News. He was the Good News. We can see Jesus as Evangelist in John 3 with the Samaritan woman at the well. Evangelists enjoy discussion and sharing their point of view. Wherever they go, they seem to draw others into discussion about Jesus.
● Evangelists are passionate about sharing the Gospel. They are not timid about their faith and seem to easily share with others regularly.
● Secular examples — salesmen, politicians, public relations reps.
● Core question Evangelists ask: Are new people entering into the Kingdom of God?
● Starting Point: “I love others!”
4. SHEPHERD (Pastor)
● One who shepherds God’s people, who cares for others with a tender heart. One who sees needs, provides comfort and encourages others.
● Pastors spend most of their time with other Christians.
● Pastors can easily empathize with others and exhibit lots of patience with those in need.
● Pastors enjoy one-on-one chats and showing hospitality. They get burdened by others’ problems and have a knack for speaking the truth in love. Pastors are good listeners and are easy to talk to and share inner feelings with.
● Biblical example — Barnabas in Acts 15:36–41. Barnabas clearly demonstrates a pastoral heart in his defense of Mark.
● Jesus’ example — In John 10, Jesus refers to himself as the Good Shepherd who has come to lead his people.
● Secular examples — counselors, social workers, nurses and anyone in the care-giving professions.
● Core question Pastors ask: Are the people of God caring for and showing compassion for people?
● Starting Point: “Everyone’s important!”
● One who holds forth the truth and is excited by it. The Teacher looks for ways to explain, enlighten and apply truth.
● Teachers enjoy reading and studying the Bible and helping others to understand it.
● Biblical example — Apollos in Acts 18.
● Jesus’ example — he was often referred to as Teacher or Rabbi. His “students” often remarked that his teaching was different because he taught with authority.
● Secular examples — lecturers, trainers, school teachers.
● Core question Teachers ask: Are the people of God immersing themselves in Scripture and incarnating it?
● Starting Point: “I hunger for the truth.”
1. What is the difference between BASE vs. PHASE spiritual gifts?
Each of us has a base ministry that represents one of the fivefold ministries in Ephesians 4. We believe that God gives each of us this ministry and it is ours for life. Hence, we call this our “base ministry.” However, there are also particular periods when God leads us to discover and understand the other spiritual gifts (apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor/shepherd, teacher) for a brief time. This is what we call our “phase ministries.”
We all have our base and at least one phase ministry at any given time. For example, the Lord may call you to teach a class on reading the Bible that you may not necessarily feel most comfortable with. Perhaps your base ministry is a Pastor, but you sense God calling you into a “phase” of being a Teacher. Your base ministry will be the one that refreshes you, the one you are most passionate about. The Lord, however, will mature you by taking you through the other ministries in phases. Many have experienced the Lord making their base ministry more rounded as they experience phases in the other areas. What God seems to be doing by allowing you time in the phase ministries is to strengthen your base ministry. By taking you out of what you’re most comfortable with, he is also shaping your character, which expands your capacity to serve the body of Christ and the world he so loved.
2. Can my phase ministry gifts change?
Yes. There may come a season where the Lord has you immersed into sharing Jesus more with others and therefore he graces you with the gift of evangelism as your phrase. Then you may have a season where you apprentice someone who is very Prophetic and learned a lot about what it is to act out of that Prophetic ministry. God will lead all of us into seasons of learning a different ministry, in which we spend a good amount of time in that phase, but at the same time being rooted in our base ministry, which is the thing we are naturally wired to do the majority of the time
3. Why would God have us enter into another phase of ministry?
Two big reasons. First, we may have a clear sense that God is asking us to learn a ministry we don’t yet have access to or aren’t competent in yet. So while you may be Apostolic in nature, it is crucial that we also know how to be an Evangelist when the situation arises. Being an Apostle isn’t an excuse for not fulfilling an important part of the Great Commission. We may not be as good as a natural Evangelist, but as we are of course called to be witnesses to the Good News, regardless of whether we are natural evangelists.
Second, we enter into a new phase when circumstances arise that immerse us in a phase ministry we are unfamiliar with, but need to have access to in order to accomplish the work God has called us to. An example of this might be someone with a Pastor base who has been serving on a welcome team in a local church may step into a Teaching phase because a community group leader stepped down. Someone needs to teach, you’ve been put in the role, and now you have a quick learning curve! What some people have wrongly assumed is that they should only operate out of a place of absolute strength when it comes to base ministry. “I’m an Apostle. I’m only going to do things that reflect that ministry.” However, Paul clearly does not see it this way. When he says, “and become mature” in Ephesians 4:13, he is referencing the individual arriving at a threshold of maturity but also referencing the various ministries. Maturity, at least as Paul is defining it in this passage, seems to be an individual having a measure of competency in each ministry, “so that we will no longer be infants.”
4. What is the whole point of using these spiritual gifts, both base and phase?
One word...MATURITY. You see when we use our gifts to serve others be it at church, work, home, etc. others are encouraged, but guess what? We mature too. Ministry is the pathway to maturity. As we walk with Jesus, and use the gifts he has given us, we become more like Jesus.
For some of us we are tired of the same old same old. We are desiring for change, purpose, etc. Sometimes we believe the myth that one day we will find change. It is foolish to assume that we will accidentally stumble across maturity and purpose. Maturity in Jesus is always intentionally by his design. And Jesus makes it abundantly clear that the way we find our life, is we give it away. Desire change today? It may not be found in consuming the next greatest idea, but rather in us serving others with the gifts God has given us.
5. What Does the Church Look Like without the Complete APEST?
One word...dysfunctional. Consider these possible scenarios...
All Apostle (No PEST)
If an apostolic leader dominates, the church or other organization will tend to be hard-driving, autocratic, with lots of pressure for change and development, and will leave lots of wounded people in its wake. It is not sustainable and will tend to dissolve with time.
All Prophet (No AEST)
If the prophetic leaders dominates, the organization will be one-dimensional (always harking back to one or two issues), will likely be factious and sectarian, will have a "super-spiritual" vibe, or, somewhat paradoxically, will tend to be either too activist to be sustainable or too quietist to be useful. This is not a viable form of organization.
All Evangelists (No APST)
When an evangelistic leader dominates, the organization will have an obsession with numerical growth, will create dependence on effervescent charismatic leadership, and will tend to lack theological breadth and depth. This type of organization will not empower many people.
All Shepherds (No APET)
When pastoral leadership monopolizes, the church or other organization will tend to be risk averse, codependent and needy, and overly lacking in healthy dissent and therefore creativity. Such an organization will lack innovation and generativity and will not be able to transfer its core message and tasks from one generation to the next.
All Teachers (No APES)
When teachers and theologians rule, the church will be ideological, controlling, moralistic, and somewhat uptight. A rationalistic, doctrine-obsessed, Christian gnosticism (the idea that we are saved by what we know) will tend to replace reliance on the Holy Spirit. These types of organization will be exclusive based on ideology like that of the pharisees.
It is fair to say that every church needs EVERY gifting, being used at its greatest capacity, so that it can see Jesus’ kingdom GROW.
6. How do I continue to grow in both my base and phase ministry?
Reach out to any pastor at The Orchard. We desire for you to network with other individuals who have similar base ministries like yourself. If you are in a particular phase of ministry right now (for example evangelism), allow us to help you partner and apprentice with someone who has that particular base gifting. Let us help you connect the dots, so that you can continue to grow up to become more like Jesus.