Bible In A Year | Read: Philippians 3

It was He who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness in Christ (Eph. 4:11-13)

More Missionaries > More Hierarchy

Paul tells us that God’s Church is organized for fullness. One look at his (very) long sentence in the passage above explains the how and why of the organizational structure. In ministry, the acronym for this fivefold structure is known as APEST, which stands for Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Shepherds and Teachers.Here’s a quick break down the functional strengths of these types of servants:

  • Apostle – Pioneering, sending, extending, and entrepreneurial.
  • Prophet – Questioning systems of power, seeking justice, critiquing mission drift and protecting the marginalized
  • Evangelist – Reaching out, including the seeker, proclaiming the gospel and including new people
  • Shepherd – Nurture, care, community and health
  • Teacher – Sound doctrine, clear teaching, effective processes and systems, and strong values

Do you recognize any of these strengths in yourself?

Most of us aren’t called into vocational ministry and will never be. Instead, we serve in all the areas where we live, work, learn and play. But as Ephesians 4:11-13 reminds us, we all have a part to play in building up the body of Christ. Our leaders are there to help us, the saints, prepare for service.

Author and teacher Alan Hirsch often talks and writes about APEST, focusing heavily on the Apostle gifting. Listen to what he says about the expression of Jesus in the world and our part in that: “Play with the image of body for awhile. The body is the embodiment. The German evangelist Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, ‘The Church is the one place in the world where Jesus Christ is taking form.’

Hirsch continues: “It’s not happening anywhere else. He has chosen this particular people to become the concrete expression of who He is, attached to Him as our Lord and the One who guides us.”

We are attached to Christ who has organized us to both mature us and bring us into the fullness of Him.

Thought For Today

How are you living into your spiritual gifting? How does knowing you’re attached to Jesus help you live filled up and poured out to others?  Have you taken the test at c3church.tv/apest

Action Steps 

Bible: What is God showing me?  What am I going to do about it? 

Bless: Serve one person through word, action, or gift today.

Join us each morning as some C3ers discuss the daily readings from Made For More.  Friday’s Battle & “A PEST” in the Church. 

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