Originally published on the Forge Scotland blog.
For those of us who have been hanging round charismaticism for a number of years, the idea of the “five-fold ministries” or “APEST” or “APEPT” is nothing particularly new. It’s great to see them getting a bit more attention, whether you’re a fan of 3DM, or Hirsch/Frost, or David Devenish1, or somebody else, there is at least an agreement that the church needs to break free of the narrow margins of the Shepherd-Teacher one-man ministry. And thus, enter the APEs…
As I was reflecting on this, I realised that we need to make sure that we don’t try and make things too clean.
As a fan of sci-fi, I was always more of a Star Wars fan than a Star Trek fan. One of the differences between the 2 worlds is that Star Trek was a somewhat “clinical” view of the future – much cleaner, and well defined. Star Wars, on the other hand, was a much muddier, dirtier world – something exemplified in Joss Whedon’s short-lived, but well-loved, TV series Firefly. A world that was much less clear-cut than Star Trek that did, in fact, feel more real.
This is what Mike Breen is getting at when he talks about “Base” and “Phase” gifting2 – our foundation is in our base gifting, but it is our phase gifting that gives colour and reality to us. In fact it is often, I believe, the depth of our phase gifting that gives real power to our base gifting.
I am a teacher. Whichever gifting questionnaire I take, it’s always up there at the top. I am secure in that. But as I think about ways in which I can improve my teaching, learn more of it’s skills, seek a greater anointing, I have realised that teaching as a gift on it’s own is, like Star Trek, a little too clinical; a little sterile, in fact. A teacher who does not have the depth of feeling for his listeners that comes from pastoring, has less to say. A teacher who does not yearn for the salvation of the lost that comes from an evangelist will find his message lacks. A teacher who does not have the prophetic voice, will not preach the Word of God; will lack authority. A teacher who has no understanding of what it is to break new ground for God like an apostle, will find his messages uninspiring.
As we enter the Christmas season – the season of gift giving – let our prayers not just focus around our own gift, but finding enjoyment and depth in sharing in the gifts of others. When we do that, we will truly be building the church.