on being prophetic (1)
So I may totally be wrong, but I’m starting to believe that God made me with a little bit of a prophetic edge. In Ephesians 4:11-13 Paul writes:
It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13until 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.
Now I hate ripping verses straight out of scripture with no context, so go ahead and read Eph 4 on your own, but I think you’d agree with me that Paul is talking about different giftings people have in the body of Christ to build up the church body.
Some great missional church people, Michael Frost and Alan Hirsch, have termed these giftings “APEPT” (apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers) and talk about the concept in their books. In an effort to show churches the path to returning to a more missional first-century-church way of being, they criticize the modern church for focusing mostly on pastoral and teaching leadership and missing out on apostolic, prophetic, and evangelistic ministries. They say that most of the APE people can be found hanging out in para-church ministries or overseas missions while PT people are in local churches. They say that the church needs all five giftings to be effective in the mission and ministry of the church.
We reiterate our belief that only when all five are operating in unity or harmony can we see effective missional engagement begin to occur. Pastors and teachers have had more than their share of responsibility in church leadership. It’s time for the recovery of some sense of balance.
Just to give you a little clearer picture of what all the APEPT leadership functions mean, I leave you with some definitions from “The Shaping of Things to Come” by Frost and Hirsch:
- Apostolic function: usually conducted translocally, pioneers new missional works and oversees their development
- Prophetic function: discerns the spiritual realities in a given situation and communicates them in a timely and appropriate way to furuther the mission of God’s people
- Evangelistic function: communicates the gospel in such a way that people respond in faith and discipleship
- Pastoral function: shepherds the people of God by leading, nurturing, protecting, and caring for them
- Teaching function: communicates the revealed wisdom of God so that the people of God learn how to to obey all that Christ has commanded of them
Next time I’ll explore what being prophetic might mean. In the mean time, enjoy the ridiculous picture that I found when I google imaged “prophet”. Nice find, hey?