Five Fold Ministry

FIVE FOLD MINISTRY
FIVE FOLD MINISTRY

MINISTRY FUNCTION 

Imagine a church where every single Christian is a perfect representative of Jesus and functions in beautiful unity to reveal Christ to the world around them.  That’s the purpose of fivefold ministry!

If you’ve never heard of the term, “fivefold ministry” is a sort of buzzword that has gained steam over the past few decades.  It’s not found in the Bible, but it is used to describe a passage in the Bible.  It refers to the five “gifts” Jesus gave to the church (not gifts of the Spirit…rather, gifts from Jesus that come in the form of people), as described in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians:

Ephesians 4:11-16 NASB95
And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, [12] for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; [13] until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. [14] As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; [15] but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, [16] from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.

Nowhere does scripture say the ministry of the Evangelist is out on the streets preaching to sinners. This is a ministry to equip the Church for the work of service, specifically for evangelizing the world.

The purpose of fivefold ministry, then, is not to wave a title around or travel from church to church receiving praises and honorariums.  The purpose of fivefold ministry is to “equip God’s people for works of service…”  And the only way to equip someone for something is to be a living example of it.  You cannot equip a person to serve unless you yourself are a better servant than they are.  As Jesus said, “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.” (See Mark 9:35.)

Now, if service is the purpose of fivefold ministry, we need to ask what this service looks like and how it is measured.  What is the end result?

I’m convinced that the end result of effective fivefold ministry is that “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.” (See Ephesians 4:13.)  In other words, the purpose of fivefold ministry is to equip every believer to do all five ministries. In this way, every Christian will look like Jesus.

To Lead or Not to Lead?

While these are indeed leadership roles, they do not necessarily fit the earthly concept of leadership.

  • Kingdom leaders serve and empower from the bottom up while earthly leaders administrate and manage from the top down.
  • Earthly leaders “use” people while kingdom leaders spend themselves on behalf of others.

Even Jesus, the most authoritative Leader in the Kingdom — the King of kings and Lord of lords — told His followers, “You’ll do greater things that Me.” (See John 14:12.)

The purpose of fivefold ministry, then, is not to wave a title around or travel from church to church receiving praises and honorariums.  The purpose of fivefold ministry is to “equip God’s people for works of service…”  And the only way to equip someone for something is to be a living example of it.  You cannot equip a person to serve unless you yourself are a better servant than they are.  As Jesus said, “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.” (See Mark 9:35.)

Now, if service is the purpose of fivefold ministry, we need to ask what this service looks like and how it is measured.  What is the end result?

I’m convinced that the end result of effective fivefold ministry is that “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.” (See Ephesians 4:13.)  In other words, the purpose of fivefold ministry is to equip every believer to do all five ministries. In this way, every Christian will look like Jesus.

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Reach NZ Evangelism Network, a dynamic platform committed to spreading the transformative message of the Gospel throughout New Zealand. At Reach NZ, our mission is clear: we exist to preach the gospel wherever people are and to equip God’s people for evangelism. As a non-profit organisation, we are dedicated to networking with other evangelists, evangelism organisations, and resources to empower churches and individuals for impactful outreach in their communities.

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  1. Thanks Barbie. We really appreciate your feedback.

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