5 Fold Ministry. While we are renewing our minds, let us also renew our mission-mindedness with apostolic transitioning strategies. The apostolic reformation is posing many challenges to the Body of Christ. One of the most significant is the structural change that is necessary within the local church. Those structural changes tear down the one-man-only paradigm to build up every believer for the work of the ministry.
We know that five-fold ascension gifts of apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor and teacher are called to equip believers for the work of ministry and the building of the Body of Christ (Ephesians 4:12). But how many leaders are actually doing this Word? A relative few, it seems, on the grand scale.
Many local church leaders tell me they feel they are still doing most of the work of the ministry themselves. Others tell me their congregants just don’t want to do anything except get blessed, despite the set man’s best efforts to launch them into the harvest fields. Still others are down right confused over the whole issue and how to address the Apostle Paul’s instruction.
WHAT IS THE WORK OF THE MINISTRY?
It seems as though we are so used to “having church” that we have drifted far away from “being the Church.” If you ask 20 different people what the work of the ministry is I suspect that you would get 20 different answers. What is the work of the ministry? In understanding what the work of the ministry is it can be helpful to understand what the work of the ministry is not.
Let me say this, the work of the ministry is not listening to a preacher on Sunday morning. The set man’s responsibility is to do more than just preach. He is also called to train and activate disciples into the ministry; that which God has called them to do within the structure of the local church. There comes a day when it’s no longer just about meeting the personal needs of a disciple. As believer’s mature in Christ, it becomes about getting them equipped to help meet someone else's needs. Scripture is replete with our mandate, once referred to in yarns past as the Great Commission. Jesus said, “Go out into the highways and hedges and compel them to come in that my house may be filled” (Luke 14:23). The word “compel” is the Greek word anagkazo. That’s where we get our English word nag, which means to be persistently annoying. I know there are large segments of the Body of Christ that are ready for Jesus to return today. But do you think that God’s house is full enough yet?
Once again, the responsibility of God’s leadership is not just to bless His people only but also to equip them for active works of ministry. The work of the ministry is more than teaching a Sunday school class or vacuuming the carpet between services. It also involves teaching, training and organizing various ways to get people actively involved in ministry “outside” the local church, i.e. evangelism and discipleship. I can’t stress this enough. I don’t think most of us have any clue how to do this. We can draw a person into a church building so the pastor can lead him to the Lord, but we have real trouble organizing effective outreaches.
Let me ask you this. How many times have you seen a large church on Christian television that grew to thousands seemingly overnight? Did you also hear the leader give his testimony of how God’s blessing caused it to grow so quickly? Maybe so. Yet I wonder if we did a poll how many of those people would tell us they transferred to that large church from some other congregation?
If we don’t change our ministry structures to be more outwardly focused (sent-ones), we will lose the battle for the lost souls of mankind. It doesn’t take a prophet to discern that without lost souls there can never be true church growth. Somebody has to do it. If not you, then who? We can’t just create the best show in town and keep deceiving ourselves in thinking that we are doing something great for God. We must make the apostolic transition.
CHANGING MINISTRY STRUCTURES
So how do we do it? I’m glad you asked. First, recognize your responsibility to disciple believers “and” equip them for active ministry both inside and outside the local church. Then, make some solid organizational changes. Take a hard look at your church and ask yourself some serious questions. Do you really have anything structured for all those people in your church to get involved in the work of the ministry?
What about building some outreach teams? Perhaps you can have church on the streets, in the hood, or the town center. Pray for the Holy Spirit to give you ideas. Don’t just try to copy what the church down the street has done successfully. Seek a strategy that fits your church’s personality. What about calling for an all church fast and prayer meeting for some prophetic strategies?
Recently I spoke with a leader who was praying for a way to transition his church more into the apostolic equip-and-send structure. The Lord showed him a trailer park with over 300 trailers full of Hispanic residents near his rural church. He estimated that there were over 1,000 people living there. He organized an outreach team, taught, trained, prayed and led them out into the area.
The outreach team erected a tent, held a barbecue and played some great music. The music drew the people, and it gave the outreach team opportunity to preach, sing and fellowship with people they didn’t know the day before. The next Sunday they had their first Hispanic family come to the church. Did you know that there are over 40 million Hispanic people in America now? I suspect in the years to come that the Hispanic churches will be some of the largest churches in the world.
For churches that are wondering how to grow, perhaps going after the lost and the unchurched is the only strategy you haven’t tried yet. Instead of trying to “draw” people to the building – go out and get them. Take the Kingdom of God to them. Yes, it’s a lot more work but you will see the fruit. What you’ll find in doing this is that people want to be involved in ministry. They just don’t know how. It is the responsibility of every leader to put people to work. Blessing people only is not scriptural.
Let’s get real for a moment. If all we are doing is using apostolic buzzwords without an attempt to equip people for active ministry we are failing miserably. This movement is more than a passing fad. It is a reformation led by the Holy Spirit. Let’s make the transition. Get those teams developed. Organize those outreaches. Don’t forget the lost in your territory and the nations of the world. If you are a leader then you have a responsibility to lead the way. You can do it!
(c) Apostle Jonas Clark
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