If you want to create a missional culture in the church you serve, you need to be able to identify, cultivate and nourish the five kind of equippers that the apostle Paul mentions in Ephesians 4 – the apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor and teacher. This website and Creating a Missional Culture is dedicated to help you do this well.
When you read Ephesians 4:1-16 you soon realize that for the apostle Paul, the maturity of the body is directly linked to the five equippers living out their ministry in the body. Under the inspiration of the Spirit, Paul is letting us know that if we hope to have mature disciples we must be recognize, receive and nourish each of the five equippers that Christ has given the church. For as the equippers incarnate their lives and ministries within the body, the whole body will be aroused and awakened to live out their sacred potential, and the body will grow in faith, hope and love.
It is helpful to understand the five equippers in a three dimensional way – calling, ministry and equipper/leader. The fivefold typology shapes everybody’s calling (Eph. 4:7), everyone ministers through at least one of these five ministry streams, but not all will equip and lead others. In other words, some people may be recognized as apostles (equipper/leader), but the whole community is to be apostolic. Some will be called evangelists, but the whole community is to be evangelistic. Alan Hirsch and Tim Catchim in The Permanent Revolution make the case that Ephesians 4 is not just a leadership text, but a text about calling, ministry and leadership.
Thus it is helpful for everyone in the congregation to at least identify their primary and secondary strengths as it relates to these five typologies. I provide a free assessment to help you with this. While an assessment helps you narrow in on your typology, the best way to discern how Christ has gifted you is to follow Him in all of life and ask these three questions.
1. What do I enjoy doing? 2. Where am I fruitful? 3. What do others tell me I do well?
If you ask these questions, and then take a look at the one page descriptions that I give for each of these equippers – apostle [dream awakener], prophet [heart revealer], evangelist [story teller], pastor [soul healer], and teacher [light giver] you should be able to discern your primary and secondary giftings. You may find it helpful to diagram the strength of each of these five areas, like I’ve done below.