A Fully Functioning Five

One of the greatest challenges in establishing Theocratic Church Government in the local church is to find and fit into their place a fully functioning five. In fact, I am sure there will be many questions with which to contend.

Do any of us really know how to operate in a Five Fold ministry model?

No, we do not. I, for one, have not yet seen it in operation. But God has been giving us some insights and we need to walk in at least the partial revelation that we do have. After all, why not? The present system sure is not getting the job done.

I also believe that the Lord would establish some prototypes. These pioneering churches will serve as examples of how these biblical principles can be incorporated into the church in our age.

Our church has a board of deacons. Is this what you are talking about?

You probably can guess the answer to this one. Elders are not deacons. Deacons are not elders. Elders comprise Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors, and Teachers. They lead and care for the church spiritually. Deacons take care of the natural affairs. Both are essential.

Where will we find sufficiently qualified people?

We may not. I am sure that if we wait until we find Apostles with a perfect Father's heart, Prophets of sufficient maturity, Evangelists with a proven track record, Pastors who know exactly what to do, and Teachers who are perpetual fountains of wisdom and knowledge we will be waiting a long, long time. We have to work with what we have. After all, that is what we have been doing thus far in the unBiblical system in which we have been operating. How human it is of us to be afraid of replacing a nonScriptural governmental model, which is continually doomed to failure and frustration, with a Theocratic one based on God's Holy Word, because we are afraid it will not work! We must not let a lack of total qualification prevent us from establishing Biblical church government that will replace the present system in which absolutely no one is, or even can be, equipped to do all that is expected of them.

Just how do we release the Five Fold to minister?

Well, in fact, we have to do more than "release the five fold ministry to minister" (although this is wonderful first step). We must come to understand that the Five Fold are more than ministerial functions, they are governmental. They are both ministry and leadership. We must have churches in which the full Five are established as servant leaders. God has chosen to govern His church through Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors, and Teachers, each adding their part. He gives each of them a measure, and reveals his mind to the whole. That is a far cry from having the present one-person-in-charge (who we erroneously call "Pastor") "releasing" the other four.

What does each of these Five Fold actually do?

Well, with hearts of integrity, they do whatever they want to do. (Sound dangerous, does it not?) Let me share with you my very limited and admittedly imperfect understanding of each of the Five.

The Five

Part of an Apostle's
ministry calling
is to bring people together,
and to see people released
into their own
ministry calling.

Apostles are usually outgoing, notorious networkers. They are often idea people, who think at least regionally. Of the five individuals who I know who have an Apostolic anointing, each manifests these characteristics somewhat. I have watched all of them in large meetings. They go from leader to leader, connecting, conversing, in one confab after another. It is a delight to see. When my good friend Duane comes to town, if he has a few spare hours he finds someone to visit, someone with whom he can share ideas. In fact, he has more ideas per day than most people have in a month. Part of an Apostle's ministry calling is to bring people together, and to see people released into their own ministry calling.

Prophets are much more solitary souls. They "see," "hear," and "feel" things most of the time. Many of them find even being in public an uncomfortable experience. They are so empathetic that just be around people they immediately pick up on the emotional climate. Unlike my good friend Duane, when I have a free day I want to spend as much of that day alone and with the Lord. That does not make me any more "spiritual" than he, it is just where my anointing lies. When I am in church I would just as soon not be talking with everyone. In fact, a lot of the time I prefer to be left alone. At times I will stand back and scan the congregation, see what I see, feel what I feel, and try to discern what each sensation means. I have a compulsive desire to see past the obvious, to know what is beneath the surface. When I minister, I am more likely to tell you what you can become than what it is you have done.

An Evangelist is a people person. He loves the lost more than anything else and would rather spend time with a sinner than a saint any day. In fact, he often feels he is wasting time if he is not doing so. While other ministries sow the seed, an evangelist is divinely skilled at reaping the harvest (or, to use another metaphor, at drawing in the net.) I am always amazed, and mystified, when I am in the presence of one of these unique individuals.

A Pastor is also a people person. He just loves the saints of God. He loves to be with them, to listen to them, to hear their stories, and know their lives. A pastor is not worn out by people. A pastor is energized by them. My wife, "Sweet Caroline," is a pastor. She has led many small groups. She listens to people, and responds with wise counsel. When we are "in church" and I am standing back just looking and getting a "feel" of things, Caroline may be off chatting someone up, or in a corner engaged in prayer ministry with someone. She gravitates toward the hurt and the wounded. She wants to "pour in the wine and the oil" and see them restored. I avoid them unless God "gives me a word."

A Teacher is a student, a habitual reader, and a compulsive explainer. Do not ask a teacher a question unless you have the time to listen to a detailed step by step answer. Give a teacher a book and they are in hog heaven. They go away to study and fill up, and come back to teach and pour it all out.

Whole books can be written on each of the Five. There is no way I can do them full service here.

Well, who is really in charge?

I guess God is. We are so used to thinking in hierarchical terms, using organizational charts, that accepting and adopting a new paradigm is unavoidably problematic. Rather than think of it in terms of who answers to whom it might help to realize that each is accountable to the other. This is more of a horizontal model. Each person, even the Team leader, realizes that whatever they see or feel, whatever they believe they have heard from God, it is incomplete until it has had the input of the other four. God will only give each of the Five a measure.

I like to compare it to the four fingers and thumb of a hand.

It takes all five
to get a good grip
on anything,
be it a spiritual principle,
or a church problem.

  • The Apostle is the thumb, without which the rest of the hand will not really be able to get a good grip on anything. He is able to easily be in contact, in relationship, with each of the other four.
  • The Prophet is the first finger, prepared of God to point the way.
  • The Evangelist is the middle and tallest finger. In the eyes of the unchurched, he is the one most clearly seen.
  • The Pastor is the ring finger, focused on relationships. Always ready to come into covenant with, and stand alongside of, anyone in need.
  • The Teacher is the little finger, last but not least, faithfully toiling away in the Word, little concerned about being noticed, enjoying his studies more than anything else.

It takes all five to get a good grip on anything, be it a spiritual principle, or a church problem. And the Apostle and Prophet most easily work together, picking up on what needs to be done and where things are headed.

Does an Apostle always "lead" the Team?

I do not think so. In fact you can have Apostles who "lead" nothing, but are merely in relationship with the rest of the Five. Some Apostles are administrators, others lead merely by influence. But I do think that whoever leads the team must have some Apostolic anointing in their gift mix.

Each local church has its own unique emphasis. There are teaching churches, given over to the exposition of the Word. It is appropriate that one called to teach would also have the Apostolic anointing to lead the Five Fold Team in that church. There are powerful Prophetic churches, and Evangelistic churches who are always on the grow. There are very caring churches that focus on Pastoring the sheep. In fact, under the old unBiblical model these were the most successful. They were led by a Pastor. The only problem being that the Pastor could in no way provide all that the congregation needed either in ministry, or in leadership.

Why all of this now?

I believe one important thing had to happen before God could restore to the church the revelation of Theocratic Church Government. That one thing is the revelation of the Father Heart of God. I have noticed an emphasis on this everywhere I go, and in every current stream of the Spirit. When Pentecostals, Charismatics, Evangelicals, and Catholics are all talking about the same thing, you have to know that God is at work. With a more clear understanding of God as our Father the church is prepared for the revelation and release of Apostles. Rather than express hierarchic control Apostles father the church and the move of God. With a heart of love they come along side of those called to ministry, to encourage, equip, enable, and train.

What about para-church ministries?

The Theocratic model is also the only way a godly para-church ministry can operate. If it does not it will eventually decline into either a dictatorship, or a democracy. Para-church ministries are born of vision, and godly vision can only be implemented with godly government.

What should we call the Team leader?

Call him whatever fits the local situation. Call him the Presiding Elder. One person I know calls himself "the paid Elder." I think Minister is a good word. It means servant. Call him anything but "The Pastor." Not only is it inaccurate, the term is too much associated with the old ungodly system.

But won't the unchurched be confused?

Confusion is merely a teaching opportunity. At least that is how it worked in Acts 2, on the Day of Pentecost. As for those who have been closely associated with the church it will provide you with a chance to explain just how different things are now. It might even cause some who have left to return. The old system has driven more people away than it ever retained.

You have not answered all of my questions.

I know. I am rather fond of saying, "I am an imperfect person, with an incomplete revelation." No one who knows me doubts the "imperfect" part. Let me explain the "incomplete." I do not believe that God will give any one individual the full answers to all the questions concerning Five Fold Ministry/Leadership. To do so would violate the very principles of Theocratic Church Government. Each person brings their incomplete portion. It is only when they are all put together that we will have the full picture of God's perfect plan.

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