Five Ministry Gifts in the Church Today
by Pastor Amir M. Khan
“So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up,” Ephesians 4:11-12 (NIV). In other words, because of His passion and love, Christ did not leave us abandoned but equipped the body of Christ with five prevailing aids to help with the edifying of the church.
Many may feel all the gifts are not necessary for equipping the body, however I would suggest that all five gifts are absolutely necessary for the body to be mature . Because we are still striving for spiritual maturity, the five-fold ministry is still needed today among the church. Myles Munroe mentioned, “A church without the presence of the five-fold gifts is nothing more than a handicapped church.” Although many pastors acknowledge these gifts, many have yet to receive these gifts to work alongside them within the local congregations. In order to build a strong congregation, Paul teaches that Christ gave each of these as gifts.
Ephesians 4 speaks about unity in the Body of Christ. The need for the apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, and teacher is “to prepare God’s people to serve and to build up the body of Christ. This is to continue until all of us are united in our faith and in our knowledge about God’s Son, until we become mature, until we measure up to Christ, who is the standard (Ephesians 4:12-13 God’s Word Translation).” Therefore all 5 must be functioning together effectively, side by side, until the Body of Christ is diligently serving and unified to the extent that it exemplifies Christ. However, these gifts are often hindered when coming together for Christ’s original purpose. The closer we get toward building the body, the enemy can see Christ’s resemblance on the body and comes in to stop or hinder the construction.
In the Old Testament, the book of Ezra details how Zerubbabel began to rebuild the temple. There were the Levites who would direct the work, stone cutters, carpenters, builders, and the priests. All of who partook in the rebuilding of the temple. In the midst of the rebuilding some from the outside came to stop the work. There were some even from the inside who frustrated the work. However, through all the hindrances, they remembered the master plan (Ezra 5:15), and persevered through every obstacle to accomplish the original purpose of rebuilding the temple. Each group was ever present and ever serving for the construction of the temple of God. The temple would not have been better than the former, had one of these gifts (carpenters, Levites, etc.) been omitted from the process.
Fast forwarding to the present day mandate: “He also gave apostles, prophets, evangelists, as well as pastors and teachers as gifts to his church. Their purpose is to prepare God’s people to serve and to build up the body of Christ. This is to continue until all of us are united in our faith and in our knowledge about God’s Son, until we become mature, until we measure up to Christ, who is the standard” (Ephesians 4:11-13).
As a pastor, it is important to remember the church belongs to Christ. The church is the bride He is returning for and is an aspect of Kingdom. The church does not belong to the apostle, pastor, prophet, etc. In retrospect, the apostle, pastor, teacher, etc. belongs to the body. Through these gifts humbly serving, the Body of Christ will be uniquely constructed and equipped to resemble the bride that Christ is returning for. When the Body of Christ is built using each tool or gift, we will resemble Him and become unified in our faith with the knowledge of Jesus Christ. This means each person who has been given such gifts has their work cut out for them in the days ahead. Lately, I have seen all of these working in their separate entity or perhaps in pairs to prepare the body of Christ. However, it is evident why the work seems to be hard and so far away from the original model or plan, which is Christ. Because Christ gave these gifts, all of them are considered necessary for equipping the saints.
Revival is on the brink. I believe each of the five-fold gifts will be ever present and used in this next move of God. In past history, we have witnessed each gift, each strong in itself, demonstrate mighty exploits for the glory of God. However, in this next move of God, I know each gift will not only be used, but will be at work TOGETHER to create an artful masterpiece, an innovative creation, and beautiful being, which is THE BRIDE OF CHRIST. That is revival. For, “He makes the whole body fit together and unites it through the support of every joint. As each and every part does its job, he makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love” (Ephesians 4:16, God’s Word Translation). Let’s get together and do the work!