It’s common in local church settings for certain spiritual gifts to be noticed or emphasized and other gifts to be left out. There is often an inadequate understanding of the importance of the “APEST” gift-set listed in Ephesians 4: Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Shepherds, and Teachers.
One reason for this is that most local churches are led by shepherds and teachers - those with commonly understood pastoral gifting. Their leadership is to be expected and celebrated, since the focus of local churches is primarily the care and nurture of all believers. That’s where pastoral leaders thrive.
The natural consequence of the dual emphasis on pastoring and teaching is that the other three gifts can get lost in the shuffle. Shepherds and teachers in leadership may not know what to do with those who begin to demonstrate and live out the prophetic, evangelistic or apostolic gifts. People with these giftings may feel insignificant or unsupported, and in worst-case scenarios may be misunderstood and labeled by leadership as “rebels.”
People with apostolic gifts, called to minister beyond the local church, can cause a good deal of angst for pastoral leaders. Pastors ultimately may need to release such people, particularly if their vision and gifts cannot be reasonably contained in one local setting.
Give them away! Attach them to apostolic, missionary structures where they can attain their full God-given potential. Let them soar!
Next week: Holy Discontent - the burden of an apostolic leader
Read more in Beyond the Local Church, CRM President Sam Metcalf's new book.
Purchase a copy here.