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What are the key skills of a pastor-teacher compared to an evangelist and what issues would need to be addressed to ensure that team members with these gifts worked together well?

This essay will look at fivefold ministry as a whole, looking at each part of the ministry. It will then look at pastor-teachers and what key skills are involved in their gifting. It will then look at evangelists and the key skills of their gifting. It will then look at the issues that would need to be addressed to ensure they worked together well. It will then conclude the findings in a conclusion.

Fivefold Ministry

Fivefold ministry is a Christian movement, first found in Ephesians 4:11 “So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers”.  

Non-charismatic Christians may also consider these roles, and others, active and valid, but the term "fivefold ministry" is particularly associated with Pentecostal beliefs.

As we read in Ephesians 4, the five parts of the fivefold ministry are referred to as ‘five offices’ of the church and these are apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. This is where we get the term APEPT. Some people change pastors to be shepherds, giving the term APEST. This is a person’s prerogative how they interpret this. Some people have argued, however that these can be defined as spiritual gifts. This has left the church questioning, are they spiritual gifts or are they offices of the church? One could argue though that these could be both offices of the church and spiritual gifts.

Apostle

An apostle is someone who is sent out. In the new testament, there are two definitions of the word apostle.

The first is in specifically referring to the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ. The second is in generically referring to other individuals who are sent out to be messengers/ambassadors of Jesus Christ.

If we look at churches today, we can see that there is a lack of biblical apostles in them. There were 3 different qualifications of the biblical apostle. The first is found in 1 Corinthians 9, when Paul talks about being a witness to the resurrected Jesus. The second is found in Acts 9, when Luke writes about people being chosen by the Holy Spirit to carry out the mission into the world. The third qualification is found in Acts 2 and 2 Corinthians 12 respectively. This qualification which Paul and Luke write about is the ability to show people signs and wonders that the spirit has given them. “The role of the twelve apostles, laying the foundation of the church, would also argue for their uniqueness. Two thousand years later, we are not still working on the foundation.”  There are some figures in the New Testament that are said to have been apostles in their time on earth. The first are The Twelve which we read in Luke 6:13-16, when The Twelve were named and selected to be apostles. The second person is found in Acts 1:24-26, when Saint Matthias is selected to replace Judas Iscariot as an apostle because Judas had betrayed Jesus, just as Jesus predicted. We find that Paul too is an apostle, as it says in Galatians 1:1. In that verse it speaks about Paul being sent by Jesus into the world. The next person we see that is an apostle is Barnabas. The first mentioning of Barnabas being an apostle is in Acts 14, where Luke writes about Barnabas and Paul in Iconium at the synagogue. The last apostles we can see in the New Testament are Andronicus and Junia, found in Romans 16:7, where Paul writes about these two individuals as being very prominent among the apostles. Apostles are the part of the body of Christ that has new ideas and makes things happen. Apostles are very key in churches and every church needs one in their leadership team, to carry the vision of the church to the next stage.

Prophet

A prophet is someone who shares god’s truth to others. “The English word prophet comes from the Greek word prophetes, which can mean “one who speaks forth” or “advocate.”  Prophets were placed in charge of establishing the church in the early days. We read about this in Ephesians 2:20, when Paul writes about God’s household being built on apostles and prophets. In the Bible, there are a more of 133 prophets named, with there being 16 women. The first prophet was found in Genesis, when God speaks to Abimelech about Abraham being a Prophet. In the New Testament, there are not as many prophets named as there are apostles. The first is found in Acts 11, where it speaks about the prophets going to Antioch. The next occasion we see a prophet mentioned in the New Testament is in Acts again, in chapter 21, where one can read about Agabus and how he spoke to people about the spirit. The third occasion that prophets are mentioned in the New Testament are found in Acts chapter 15, where Judas and Silas are mentioned to be prophets. The fourth time prophets are mentioned are again found in Acts, in chapter 15. This time, the daughters of Philip are said to have ‘had the gift of prophecy’.

Evangelist

An evangelist is someone who is called to go into the world and preach the gospel. People with the gift of evangelism quite often move from place to place to share the good news and evangelise. “The four gospel writers Matthew, Mark, Luke and John can sometimes be noted as being called “the Evangelists” because they recorded the ministry of Jesus Christ— “good news,” indeed.  Surprisingly, as the bible is read – there is only three mentions of the word evangelist. These appear in Ephesians 4, where the fivefold ministry is first mentioned. The second mention of evangelist is seen in Acts 21, where Philip is named as an evangelist. The third and final mention of the word evangelist is found in 2 Timothy 4, when Paul encourages Timothy to do evangelical work. Philip is the only person in the Bible that is mentioned as an evangelist.

Shepherd

A shepherd is someone who cares for people and tends to their sheep. Jesus refers to himself as ‘the good shepherd’ in John, meaning that he will tend to his sheep – his sheep being his followers and to teach them lessons about how to live a Christian life. Shepherds are mentioned in the Bible numerous times.

Teacher

A teacher in the Bible was someone who can be viewed as a minister in today’s day and age. Teachers are people who teach the church what God is saying to them as a body of believers. In the Bible, we see that the apostle Paul was a well-known teacher. Paul knew the Old Testament just as the devout Jews of his time knew it. He was also trained as a Rabbi, meaning that he knew the Old Testament as his fellow Rabbi knew it.

Pastor Teachers

In Ephesians 4, Paul writes about Christ giving the people at the time pastors and teachers, in order to help mature Christians in their faith and to try and become whole measures of Christ.

There are a number of general qualifications that a pastor teacher must have. The first qualification is to “live a life worthy of the calling”, which is mentioned in Ephesians 4:1. Paul expected this from the believers he was writing to, so this should also be expected of believers and pastor-teachers today. The second is found in Ephesians 4:3 and it is that Pastor Teachers are to keep the Spirit united through peace. If believers struggle to keep peace, there will be unrest amongst themselves – just as Paul writes in Galatians 5:19-23. Unity comes from Christ and Paul urges believers to keep peace.

The Pastor-Teacher is a part of their team and a valued part of their team, because they offer many things to the church. For one, they offer pastoral care to their congregation. They also offer ministerial duties in their community, for example they will lead weddings or funerals. They will also be in charge of teaching God’s word on a Sunday morning or evening at their church meetings.

But, authors have been posing the question, are they two different groups or are they the same? Guthrie and Motyer argue that pastor teachers are “two functions shared by the same individuals whose chief task is described in Acts 20:28.”  This would lead to the belief that the two are the same, based on this view. There are a number of authors who agree with this view. Vaughan agrees with them, saying “pastors and teachers constitute one office with a dual function.”  The views of these authors suggest that being a Pastor Teacher means that the two are intertwined into one, meaning that they work parallel to each other.

One problem that Pastor-Teachers might come across, being a minister is that quite often ministers are not good at both. Some ministers are better at pastoral care, whereas some are better at teaching. It is essential that a minister has the ability to pastorally care for the congregation, as well as teach.

Evangelists

As aforementioned, Evangelists are called by God to go into the world and share the good news of Jesus Christ. There are seven characteristics of an evangelist and what makes them different from other offices of the church.

The first characteristic of an evangelist is Prayer. Evangelists are devoted to praying for the next person to share the Gospel with and are dependent on God when praying. The second characteristic of an evangelist is that they believe in the urgency of evangelism. Evangelists want to share salvation with non-Christians so believe they need to be saved. The third characteristic of an evangelist is “They are people who spend time in the Word. The more time they spend in the Bible, the more likely they are to see the lostness of humanity and the love of God in Christ to save those who are lost.”  The fourth characteristic is that evangelists have compassion for the lost. They love the world because of their relationship with the one who created it. The fifth characteristic is that they do mission in the community God has placed them, while growing a heart for the community. They want to share the Gospel with people in their community until God calls them elsewhere. The sixth characteristic is the intentionality of their evangelism. Evangelists pray for opportunities to share their testimony and the gospel. Evangelists believe that opportunities like those have been prepared by God to empower them. The last characteristic is one that is key for ministry. It is that evangelists have someone that is accountable. Evangelists have someone they can turn to and chat about how their evangelism is developing and growing. Evangelists are in the words of Spurgeon  “soul winners”, meaning that evangelists are constantly praying and looking for more people to come into God’s kingdom.

Evangelists start the process for people coming to know Christ, but is that the be all and end all of their gifting? Or do they have to disciple the people that they have went on the journey of bringing them to know Jesus. As we read in Matthew 28 during the great commission, Jesus didn’t tell his disciples to make converts he told them to make disciples. The disciples were evangelists, sharing the good news firstly in the part of the world they were in and then the word spread all over the world into the rest of the world.

Are evangelists also to equip the church to do mission, or is that the church leader or minister’s job? There are arguments on both sides of the coin. On one side, the evangelists are the ones who are doing the evangelising and bringing them to a place where they can meet Jesus and help them to be rooted into a church afterwards with the hope of discipling them. On the other hand, shouldn’t the whole church be looking to introduce people to Christ rather than just the evangelists?

Issues that may arise

There can be many issues that arise when Pastor-Teachers and Evangelists work together. The two main ones that can be imagined are that the pastor teachers can be focussed on either pastoral care or teaching, and the evangelists can be too focussed on reaching new people.

Pastor Teachers have a lot of responsibility in their churches, being in charge of the pastoral care as well as the teaching. Being a traditional minister employed as a church comes with the implication that time will need to be seen as a gift from God. Another issue from this is that they sometimes feel like they are on their own doing the pastoral care or teaching, so ministers who are pastor teachers will get stretched quite quickly, resulting in them being run down quickly.

Evangelists as part of a team can often be lone workers. They have their own agendas and want to reach the lost, rather than focussing on the people in the church who have just come to know Jesus and are in need of discipling. Evangelists are also sometimes heavily geared towards once they have got one person to know God, going back out without investing in the person who has just come to know Him. Being a lone worker means that they can sometimes be heavily reliant on doing their own thing rather than what the rest of the team want to do.

One way to keep everyone working together in a ministry team is to have an apostle. Apostles are the ones who carry the vision and make sure that everyone in the team is on board with the direction that the church is moving in.

Conclusion

In conclusion, having studied both Pastor Teachers and Evangelists, it is clear that they can work together, but to work effectively need an apostle to carry the vision of the leadership team forward.

Secondly, Pastor-Teachers and Evangelists both offer something different to a team and every team should look to have these people in them.

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