Summary: Evangelists, Prophets, Apostles, and Pastor/Teachers are not exactly authority figures. They are trainers. Good trainers have to be able to set an example. And these trainers are trainers in service.

Ephesians 4:11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 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 of Christ.

Again, some people like to debate. Some (very few, but some) have argued the gifts of the Spirit faded with the completion of the Bible. Paul says the gifts of apostles, prophets etc. were given 'to equip His people for works of service so the body of Christ can be built up'. The Body of Christ needs building today as much as any time in Church history, so i think it's difficult to argue these gifts are not for today. I also don't know anyone who argues that the role of pastor/teacher is not for today's church. To be consistent it's difficult to argue any of the others are now defunct.

Having said that. I'm hesitant to trust anyone who seems too fond of titles. Taoist teaching focuses on titles. The argument is that if we give people their proper role within society and the title that fits that role, things will run more smoothly. There may be some value in clarity of roles. Yet, hierarchical societies have their weaknesses. Malcolm Gladwell argued in his book "Blink" that several airline accidents have the same cause-fatigue, stressful conditions, and a hierarchical culture that made it difficult for people lower in the structure to question or correct people higher in the structure. Most management gurus and research today argue we need a flatter structure in order to have organizations that are adept at creating novel solution to intractable problems. Good ideas can come from anywhere. I think Paul taught this in his own leadership style.

One of my favorite sections of the New Testament is the beginning of Acts chapter 13. Paul and Barnabas are leading the church at Antioch. They've been there about a year and a half. They are at a meeting together with five the "prophets and teachers" who are named. Paul is at the end of the list. As they pray the Spirit tells them to send Paul and Barnabas on what has been called their first missionary journey. Who said this? We're not told. God spoke through one or more of those present. It seems that the leadership team Paul and Barnabas built up tells them to pack their bags and leave. They are not offended. They are not intimidated. Instead, they recognize this as the direction of God's Spirit. Paul demonstrated the principle of corporate leadership-of hearing from God as a group, rather than simply having a super-saint in charge of the church. We are all saints, and each of us needs to function with the guidance of the Holy Spirit (see 1 Corinthians 12).

So, Evangelists, Prophets, Apostles, and Pastor/Teachers are not exactly authority figures. They are trainers. Good trainers have to be able to set an example. And these trainers are trainers in service. Therefore, anyone who wants to be called an Apostle (sent one), Prophet (one who 'speaks forth' God's word for the day & His plan for the future), Evangelist (proclaimer), and Pastor/Teacher (a shepherd who cares for and feeds the sheep), must first demonstrate what it means to serve.

The training goal is that each of us become mature, and reflect the nature of Jesus. He came not to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.


Richard of Chichester said it this way:

"O most merciful redeemer, friend and brother, may I know thee more clearly, love thee more dearly and follow thee more nearly, day by day."


teach me to lead as you have lead. Teach me to serve as You have served. Teach me to love as You have loved. Give me the gift of Your Spirit. Fill me to overflowing so I can be a blessing to others. Speak Your word to me, and give me ears to hear. Show Yourself to me and give me eyes to see. Then give me the power to share You with everyone-to become more like Jesus every day.

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