The Five Gift Ministries in the Church

September 2003

The Five Gift Ministries in the Church

The five gift ministries are listed in Ephesians 4 verse 11. 
In this teaching we will see:
-what these gift ministries are
-their purpose
-then some of the benefits and impact that these gift ministries have in the household, and to those searching for the truth.
Ephesians 4:1– I (Paul) therefore the prisoner of the Lord, beseech (lovingly implore) you that ye walk worthy of the vocation (function) wherewith ye are called.
Paul admonishes us to walk in the calling of God.
Ephesians 4:2-8 – With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; 3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; 5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. 7 But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. 8 Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.
Verses 9-10 are the figure of speech parenthesis – This is a figure of speech offering an explanation and we can skip to verse 11 without losing any of the meaning of the record.
Ephesians 4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers
Here we see the five gift ministries that God gave to the Church:
Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors, and Teachers
Here are the definitions of these ministries according to the Random House College Dictionary, (my comments in parentheses)
Apostle: A pioneer of any reform movement. (Movement of the Gospel of Jesus Christ)
Prophet: A person who speaks for God by divine inspiration.
Evangelist: A preacher of the Gospel. (Good news)
Pastor: Of, pertaining to, or consisting of shepherds. (Flock)
Teacher: A person who teaches or instructs (The Word)
Here are the Biblical meanings of each of these ministries:
An Apostle is one who brings new light to their generation. The same revelation may have been given in the past, but it is new to this generation.
A Prophet is one who speaks for God to God’s people. They can help return lost sheep to the flock and back into fellowship with the Father.
An Evangelist is one who brings people to (an experiential) knowledge of the new birth. They see the person born again and saved into God’s household unto eternal life.
A Pastor is one who cares for and ministers to the individual needs of the household, the called out body of believers, the flock.
A Teacher is one who brings forth the accuracy and truth of God’s wonderful Word to the believers.

Here is Ephesians 4:11 from the the Amplified Bible:
And His gifts were [varied; He Himself appointed and gave men to us,] some to be apostles (special messengers), some prophets (inspired preachers and expounders), some evangelists (preachers of the gospel), some pastors (shepherds of His flock), and teachers.

Why did God initiate these ministries?  We read on and find out:

Ephesians 4:12-16 – For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: 14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; 15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: 16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

Ephesians 4:12-shows the effect of the energizing of these ministries.
…perfecting of the saints… (or maturing of the saints, the believers In their walk with God)
Ephesians 4:13-tells us how long these ministries will exist. (Until Jesus Christ returns, see I Thessalonians 4:13-18)
Ephesians 4:14-“That” (indicates purpose.) So that we are no longer children, spiritually speaking.
Ephesians 4:15-But… (In contrast to: being tossed to and fro, carried about…)
…speaking the truth in love…
Ephesians 4:16-Every part… (Every person has the ministry of reconciliation) …maketh increase of the body…

Ephesians 4:29Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. 
The spoken word ministers grace and peace to those who hear it.
Ephesians 4:32 – And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. 

We are to be kind to one another and readily forgive people who may have wronged us or made a mistake.

So what are these gift ministries?  They are people.  God gave us the gift of people in the household who love him, serve him, and excel at the specific function that he has called them to fulfill.

God has given us the gift of people – People who operate in these gift ministries to bless the household by the spoken word, by caring for the flock, & by speaking the truth, so let’s give the gift of the household to people as we speak the Word of God.

God Bless You