I do not usually post devotions on Thursdays, but I felt the need to expound a bit more on how the five-fold ministry functions, since I promised to speak about the goal of these in Friday’s session.
I believe that the understanding of how something functions is as important as why it exists. This gives us a greater appreciation for its existence.
We discussed the three (3) ways in which the five-fold functions as indicated in Ephesians 4:12: “12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:”
Let us look at these in greater detail.
- The perfecting of the saints.
The Greek word used for ‘perfect’ in this text, is ‘kartatismon’. This means to equip, to bring to a condition of fitness. HELPS word studies puts it in this way: the exact adjustment which enables the individual parts to work together in the correct order and describes how they do so.
Think of Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Teachers and Pastors as if they were chiropractors. They make sure that every bone, joint and part of the body is in its correct place and if not, they perform maneuvers to put them back in place. In that regard, their jobs are both diagnostic and corrective. These leaders provide instruction and direction to the saints; they equip the saints with the word of God to enable them both to be disciples and to make disciples. They create environments much like a gym to bring the saints to fitness by designating responsibilities to them.
Sidebar: Everything you learn in church is to make you more impactful in the WORLD.
- The work of the ministry
As we learned previously, work refers to something that is structured and clearly defined. What then is the work of the ministry? The answer is found in the Scripture.
First in Matthew 28:19-20 (NIV):
19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
And again in Acts 1:8
“8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”
The work of the ministry is clearly defined. It is to make disciples and to be witnesses of Jesus Christ after receiving the Baptism of Holy Spirit. The five- fold ministry leaders achieve the work of the ministry through their equipping of the saints. The saints in turn also do the work of the ministry after being poured into by their leaders. Preparation to do the work comes through, preaching, teaching, laying on of hands, through discipline and by being given responsibility. The church is the training ground for believers to go out into the world!
- The edification of the body of Christ
Edification means spiritual advancement. The body of Christ is advanced when its mandate is being fulfilled. When souls are drawn into the Kingdom, when saints are equipped and they go out into the world to make disciples, the Kingdom enlarges, it advances. Our presence becomes known and the manifestation of God’s glory is clearly seen. The five-fold is the foundation through which the Kingdom of God is advanced. It cannot occur without the working of every leadership role.
There has been an imbalance in many local churches because the five-fold ministry gifts which are supposed to perfect the saints, accomplish the work of the ministry and advance the Kingdom of God, are not functional. Without them, we cannot accomplish our goal, which is stipulated in Ephesians 4:13-15.
Father, I humbly come to You, to ask You to teach me. Help me to know what are the foundational principles and structures of Your Kingdom that I may be an effective student to do the work of the ministry. I pray this in Jesus’ name, AMEN.
By Joanna Lloyd