And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ: Ephesians 4:11-13
In the 4th installment of the “Get to Know the 5 Fold Series”, we are exploring the Gift of Apostle. The word Apostle means “one who is sent”. One who speaks and writes on the authority of the one who sent them. Today we are discovering the 3 main attributes that identify the Gift (or Office) of Apostle active in someone. As with the other 4 Christ given gifts, we are all “sent” in one form or another. Many people speak for Christ. The difference is the level of authority we speak with and who is sending us.
Wrapping up the “Get to know the 5-Fold Series”, we finally look at the Christ Given gift of Pastor. I strategically saved this Gift until last because, in my experience, it is typically the most commonly misused gift. The word Pastor in the Bible means Shepherd or Parent to many. It simply means “one who cares for the Lord’s sheep”. In our churches we have created so many ideas for what this role encompasses and have made it to be something it was never intended to be. In order to properly care for those God has assigned us to, we have to have clear understanding of all of the 5-Fold Gifts. Just as a natural parent has to be flexible according to the need at hand in caring for their children, there are times where Pastors need to be able to operate in each of the Christ Given gifts. But, more importantly, Pastors need to be able to help identify them and nurture them in others for the purpose of bringing edification to everyone.
Often times people mistake a calling to ministry in general to mean they are called to Pastor a church when Pastoring is actually the least mentioned Christ Given gift in the Bible. The flip side to this is that many limit the Gift of Pastor to only operating in a church leadership setting. God can (and does) call Pastors in many settings. Just as with anything, a calling to Pastor requires allowing the Lord to reveal to us who we are called to care for in what kind of setting. The Gift of Pastor can operate in Market Place Ministry, on the street, in care based ministries, discipleship programs, soup kitchens, homelessness or recovery programs, or just about anywhere, really.
Another misplaced theory is that only those who have attended seminary can operate in the Gift of Pastor. Christ gives gifts unto men according to His pleasure and purposes. Christ also prepares His Pastors in conjunction with their individual ministry assignment. Our responsibility is to pray about our preparation and follow the Lord’s leading. If God has called you to Pastor, let the Holy Spirit reveal and confirm how He wants you to receive your training. But, more importantly, understand what it means to Pastor so that you are not pursuing a calling that God did not intend based on your preconceived ideas or notions. Ask yourself if it’s possible that God has called you to a different type of ministry.
In short, Pastors are not people God places on a pedestal for others to worship that have to be all things to all people. Pastors are mere servants assigned to ensure God’s people are being cared for to the best of their ability. We have to make sure we are not making it less or more than it needs to be. Pastors are called to make “fishers of men” and to disciple others. Simply put, a Pastor is there to “feed the sheep” both physically and spiritually, whatever the greatest need at hand at any given moment may be.
Let’s pray. Father, we lift your Pastors to you and ask that you simplify this reality for them. Give them peace and blessed assurance that you are not asking more of them than you have prepared them to handle. We lift the sheep they care for to you as well. We ask that you would remind them not to place too high of a burden on their Pastors, either. Help us all to realize that we are all humans with Christ Given gifts and talents and that none of us would have these gifts if it weren’t for the purpose of edifying your church that you have predestined. Help those receiving their calling to ministry to properly identify their Christ Given Gifts through this 5-Fold Ministry teaching. We thank you for the sacrifice of our Pastors and ask that you bless your servants accordingly. In Jesus Name, Amen.
For more insight into the Gift of Pastor, please watch the following video.
Sermon Notes for 10/7/18 by Audra waters-Leary. “Get to Know the 5-Fold” series.
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