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Learn About the Fivefold Ministry

The Fivefold Ministry is a term referring to the five ministry roles of Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor and Teacher found in the book of Ephesians. It’s the Biblical blueprint we are given to equip people and grow the Kingdom.

Jesus exemplified the perfect ministry during His time on earth and was the full embodiment of all the giftings together. Because Jesus lives in us and through us (Galatians 2:20), we have been called to live as Jesus lived (1 John 2:6) and continue the works He began on Earth (John 14:16). As saints, we have been given the call to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19-20) and have been given the mission to reconcile all things to God (2 Corinthians 5:17-19).

Because Christ lives in us and through us, God accomplishes His purposes on Earth through His people (Philippians 2:13). Within each of the saints, we find the various manifestations of the Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor, and Teacher within the Body of Christ. Each person is given a gift, a role, and a part of the Body to continue the work of Christ.

Scriptural Reference for the Fivefold Ministry

The Fivefold Ministry is a concept taken from Ephesians 4:11-16 as Paul lays a framework to equip the saints for service and building up of the Body of Christ.

Ephesians 4:11-16 (NASB)

And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. 

As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming;  but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.

Here are a few common questions surrounding the Fivefold Ministry.

Is the Fivefold Ministry Relevant for Today?

The Fivefold Ministry is for today. As the text clearly states, the Fivefold Ministry of Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers are purposed to build up the Body of Christ until the Body of Christ reaches unity of faith, knowledge, and is fully mature matching the fullness of Christ.

Some question the relevancy of the Fivefold Ministry for today, but those who do would need to defend the current Body of Christ as being fully complete, mature and unified. Not only is the Body of Christ still growing and spreading across the globe, it is hardly unified by any sensible definition with hundreds of differing Christian denominations and sects today.

Indeed, the Body of Christ shall grow and mature until Christ’s final return. Paul gives us the Fivefold Ministry as the operating structure to use until that time. 

What does the Fivefold Ministry Do?

As Ephesians 4:11-16 teaches, the Fivefold Ministry should produce the following outcomes:

  • Equip the believers for works of service
  • Build up the Body of Believers in growth and maturity
  • Create unity of faith
  • Increase in knowledge about God, Jesus and the Kingdom
  • Grow believers to be mature in their faith with sound doctrine
  • Develop strong believers who are secure in their faith
  • Mature the saints to be able to stand in the face of the challenges and deceits of the world
  • Disciple believers in continual growth with an ever increasing outward manifestation of love

In summary, the Fivefold Ministry is a framework to grow, build and mature the Body of Christ to continue the workings of Jesus through the lives of the saints.

What do the Various Roles Mean?

The various giftings have distinct attributes, ramifications and responsibilities. The conclusion of the test produces a detailed list and explanation for the dominant role. Here are shortened descriptions for each of the roles.

Apostle:
People who score highest with an Apostolic position are Dream Awakeners* in the Kingdom of God. They awaken people to their God designed potential. They are instrumental in people discovering who they really are, and walking alongside them to get there. They forge new paths in the Kingdom and are a catalyst for change wherever they go.  Listen to a message preached by Eric Knopf on the role of the Apostle.

Prophet
People who score highest with a Prophetic position are Heart Revealers* in the Kingdom of God. They are effective in revealing God’s heart for His people where ever they go. They can accurately discern God’s heart for a situation. They help people experience God’s voice for the very first time and help them develop hearing the voice of God in their own life. Listen to a message preached by Eric Knopf on the role of the Prophet.

Evangelist
People who score highest with an Evangelist position are Story Tellers* in the Kingdom of God. They make the stories of Jesus’s remarkable goodness and love famous. They are the carrier of good news and partner with Jesus in celebrating people’s transformation. They stir curiosity and desire to know Jesus. Their life is a living invitation to all to join the Family of God. Listen to a message preached by Eric Knopf on the role of the Evangelist.

Pastor
People who score highest with a Pastoral position are Soul Healers* in the Kingdom of God. They are instrumental in guiding people through brokenness back to wholeness and healing their soul from wounds that keep them where they are. They create a safe atmosphere of family and belonging. They bring fun and enjoyment to God's ministry and allow people to feel like they are part of a greater family. Listen to a message preached by Eric Knopf on the role of the Pastor.

Teacher
People who score highest with a Teaching Position are Light Givers* in the Kingdom of God. They make the truth and knowledge about God accessible to all. They have an ability for breaking confusion and misinformation. They are strategic in helping people know the truth of God and also how it applies to their own life. Listen to a message preached by Eric Knopf on the role of the Teacher.

*The names Dream Awakener, Heart Revealer, Story Teller, Soul Healer and Light Giver were originally coined by J.R. Woodward.

Does Everyone Have A Gifting?

Because Jesus lives in and through every believer, it is expected that the attributes of Jesus would manifest in at least one detectible way through every believer. We believe that the gifts are found within our natural strengths and simply need to be identified.

Can People Have More than One Gifting?

Absolutely. In our experiences in over 100,000 participants, people score dominantly to two giftings. This is acceptable because the attributes and strengths of Jesus are being looked for in the test. Common pairs are Pastor and Teacher, Apostle and Prophet, and Prophet and Evangelist. It’s good to identify a primary and secondary gifting but to seek to operate in the one you most strongly possess.

Can People’s Giftings Change?

As people mature in their faith and relationship with God, it is not uncommon to see them develop stronger scores in their strengths – and even grow ones to dominant or primary positions. This is most common with someone who develops a teaching gift.

Is the Fivefold Ministry a System of Church Government?

There are differing views on this subject and the roles mentioned in the Fivefold Ministry can be extrapolated to mean things they may not have been intended to mean. Using the text of Ephesians 4:11-16 as our guide, these roles are explicitly purposed for equipping individual believers so the body of believers is equipped for the work of service. In other words, the roles of the Fivefold Ministry are a model to build up the Church and grow believers.

While some believe, their gifting bestows as an office, such as an office of the Apostle, it may be more appropriate to identify themselves as being Apostolic – or one who pioneers new endeavors and grows people.  Similarly, someone who believes their gifting bestows them an office of Prophet may more appropriately identify themselves as being Prophetic – or someone who reveals the heart of God for people, places and situations. The important thing is that these giftings are in partnership with the Holy Spirit and indeed are alive, active and instrumental for the growth of the Church.