Most of us recognize the wisdom of teams to really get things done. Teams are more accountable, more resilient, more creative, and more effective than individuals in accomplishing goals. Teams deliver especially well when they are made up of the right players.
Ephesians 4:11 gives us the makeup of a high-impact team that is worth assembling in ministry: “So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers.”
These “equipping gifts” of the Spirit are embodied in five very different people. Imagine a ministry team in your congregation made up of people with the following gifts:
• Apostolic vision: Apostles are those who challenge the church to look outward and press into the mission that surrounds them.
• Prophetic courage: Prophets have the courage to say what is unpopular in order to call us all to the way of Christ.
• Pastoral care: Shepherds ensure that no one gets ignored, personal struggles are prayed for, and ministry does not become impersonal.
• Teaching wisdom: Bible teachers keep us all oriented to true north—the way of Christ and his kingdom.
• Evangelistic passion: Evangelists equip us to share the good news in ways that are fresh and transformational in the lives of new people.
When a ministry has all the Ephesians 4:11 gifts together on one team, there is balance and optimum impact. When a ministry fails to lift up any one of the Ephesians 4:11 equipping gifts, it is likely to go astray and fail to be all that God has intended it to be.
Want to learn more about the five-fold equipping gifts? Just Google “five-fold ministry.”
Rev. Ben Ingebretson is director of new church development for the Dakotas-Minnesota Area of the United Methodist Church.
Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church