Ephesians 4:7-16 says

"But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift.  Therefore He says:

“When He ascended on high,
He led captivity captive,
And gave gifts to men."

(Now this, "He ascended"—what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.)

And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head — Christ — from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

The very first truth we should grasp out of these verses is that the the equipping gifts of Jesus Christ that are given to train believers for the work of ministry here in the earth are not needed in heaven.  This is why it says in the text that He "gave gifts to men ( "anth'-ro-pos" - mankind; specifically the body of Christ.)" 

In other words Jesus took the totality of who He was from the aspect of being a disciple maker or equipper and divided this gift up into five general areas.  While there is some overlap as Peter, John and Paul all wrote some prophetic passages;  the fact that Paul needed a thorn in the flesh to keep from being "exalted above measure" should clearly convey the truth that corruptible man cannot hold more than one aspect of the equipping ministry of Christ in their earthen vessel.  In other words some have been given one gift and some have been given a different gift.

An example of this is that without exception every true apostolic minister that I've known freely admits that they are not very good pastors and while they can lead others to Christ; the anointing on an apostle to lead others to Christ and to teach others how to do this is no where near the anointing for these things that an evangelist walks in.  

While were on the subject; a false perception that seems to permeate through traditional church culture is that a pastor by virtue of his heart for the people should take a lead or senior role. 

We should earnestly examine this assumption as the heart of "the Good Shepherd" beats just as strongly in each aspect of Christ's equipping gifts.  Clearly there are times when the needs of the people are better served by a pastor, and yet there are times when the people need the anointing of an evangelist to equip them as well.

Setting aside how these gifts function I want to break down the text a little differently to help illustrate what each gift is for.

And He Himself gave some to be apostles, - for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry

And He Himself gave some to be prophets, - for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry

And He Himself gave some to be evangelists, - for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry

And He Himself gave some to be pastors, - for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry

And He Himself gave some to be teachers, - for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry

While I know that this is a redundant way of illustrating this; hopefully this point is made clearer this way:  While an evangelist has a clear anointing to harvest souls into the kingdom of God; they were given by the Lord to equip their brothers and sister in Christ to harvest souls in the field of the Lord..

1. Jesus as our advocate is now in heaven

2. Jesus gave equipping gifts to some in the body

3. Jesus gave His ministry of reconciliation to ALL in the body

that together we would be a  "measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ"

*NOTE:  In order to nurture a truer expression of the "fullness of Christ" we need to clearly understand that Jesus Himself imparts ministry to each believer and that the vision for this ministry comes from Christ alone.  As we take the time to nurture an intimate relationship with Christ; the uniqueness of this bond will serve to birth a distinctive anointing for everything that the Father has purposed for you to accomplish in your lifetime.  

Rather than attempt to define the boundaries of each aspect of the five fold ministry; I believe it would be more helpful to simply give a short list of how Christ operated in each area.  

I also want to stress in this that I personally do not believe that even in the midst of what is written here; I do not have the right or authority to define the boundaries of another minister; I can only put forth a framework of accountability as a plea to see the increase of Christ's government among His flock.

Again, Jesus as the Head of the Body took the equipping / discipleship gifts that He operated in during His earthly ministry and imparted them to men and women so that they might equip others for ministry as well; so it is Christ alone who defines each gifting.

Examples of how Jesus would have operated in these gifts are:

Apostle - Hebrews 3:1-4 - Jesus is THE wise master builder (see also 1Corinthians 3:10)

Prophet - Luke 19:41-44-- Jesus prophesied the future destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans

Evangelist - Mark 6:7-12 - Jesus empowered others to proclaim the Kingdom of God

Pastor - John 14:1-4 ------ Jesus comforted others concerning His departure

Teacher - Mark 9:38-50 -- Jesus taught others how to conduct their lives as believers

As you prayerfully consider these examples; I hope you will realize how critically important it is in these last days for ALL of these equipping gifts to be present in the body of Christ and working together to prepare the Lord's sanctified army for the battle ahead. 


Having been very exacting concerning the role of women in relation to leadership roles, it is time to broaden the discussion.  Very simply every believer has a priestly role to walk in.  Young & old, male & female,  new convert & seasoned believer, --- every believer has a "ministry of reconciliation" to walk out --- there are no exceptions.  

Every ministry will not come as the result of some majestic vision, but rather they will be acts of the Holy Spirit as each of us seek the Lord -- willing to serve others.

When we consider vision and how it relates to five-fold ministry, this next statement would seem to make no sense at all.  Yet the five-fold ministry is responsible for imparting doctrine and direction (the Testimony) to the body of Christ, they are not responsible for imparting vision.  Vision comes through Jesus.

As equipping ministries labor in the Lord's vineyard prevailing faith is impart to believers through the hearing of the Word of God.  As a result of this sound doctrine and direction begins to take shape in the hearts of God's people and they receive vision from the Holy Spirit.  This is how disciples are prepared for "the work of ministry" that Christ has given to them.

What then is "the work of ministry" given by the Lord  to all believers and five-fold ministers?  The bible says in 2 Corinthians 5:18-20 - "Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.  Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God."

In short Jesus Christ has given us the ministry of reconciliation and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.

So then, the calling of every believer is as "ambassadors"  for Christ, and our "ministry" is the "reconciliation" of a lost and dying world to the Creator of all things (Yahweh) through His Son; our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

We must understand that there were two commissions given by the Lord after His resurrection.  The one recorded in Matthew 28:18-20, we are all familiar with.  It reads "And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. 

This 'commission' has been given to every believer

We are also familiar with the second commission, given to all aspects of biblical governance; however most of us have never recognized it as such. 

In the last chapter of the gospel of John the Lord gave Peter some instructions or a commission.    In John 21:15-19 the bible says - "So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?”  He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.”  He said to him, “Feed My lambs.”  He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?”  He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.”  He said to him, “Tend My sheep.”  He said to him the third time,  “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?”  Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?”  And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.”  Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep.  Most assuredly, I say to you, when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish.”  This He spoke, signifying by what death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, “Follow Me.” 

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