The tide is shifting all around us as we move closer to the time Jesus called the “End of the Age”. What is partly missing from the equation is the fullness of what Paul the apostle declared was necessary for the perfecting of the saints. Paul identified a critical aspect to the full maturity of the Church Age. It involved the establishment of the five fold ministry. We are now beginning to see within the body of believers a greater awakening to each of these ministry offices; those being the apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor and teacher.
When Jesus inhabited the earth, he launched his ministry by strategically pouring into twelve men. These twelve were not the only ones to receive of the gospel that Jesus preached over the 3 1/2 years that he ministered on the earth. However, those twelve men were the ones he called unto himself with the precise goal of leaving them to the task of launching the Church Age.
As Paul revealed that this Church Age must move from infancy to maturity we also note that from his perspective, development of the individual Saint to a mature person in Christ was in his mind something that could and should happen in a reasonable amount of time. We also see that from Jesus’ perspective, it can reasonably be accomplished in 3 1/2 years.
In this season of fivefold ministry, it is not enough to see people receive salvation, but to be developed as true disciples into each of the fivefold ministries. This requires that apostles disciple other apostles, prophets other prophets, evangelists other evangelists and so on for each ministry. As people are discipled in the faith, the discipling into these fivefold ministries is not automatic. Fivefold discipleship is the strategic means by which duplication and multiplication can and must occur so that the Body of Christ moves from its infancy to a mature or “perfect man” as Paul said.
Something that you may hear in the streets by some people is the thought that, “Real recognizes real”. The idea behind this is that in order to recognize someone who is authentic, you yourself must be authentic. With that in mind, disciples who effectively operate in the offices of the fivefold ministries need to begin to recognize with greater emphasis those others who have a bent towards the ministry gifting, anointing and calling as they themselves carry and operate in. It is no different than when a musician or artist takes note of a young child who is exhibiting a natural tendency or bent towards something that they are skilled at.
The fulfillment of discipleship is not the assurity of heaven, it is the complete equipping of the saints to upset kingdoms for The Kingdom and the restoration of everything that needs to be restored so that Christ can complete what must be completed. As we move forward in this season of great awakening to the full revelation of the operation of all five ministries highlighted by Paul, there can be no doubt that it will be what ushers the Body of Christ into a fully mature Body which is ready for age yet to come.
QUESTION: What signs are you seeing show up that the Church must take note of in this age?
- Discipleship in the Summer (from a smaller church perspective) (youthmin.org)
- Rev. Dr. Bethea and Set The Captives Free Outreach Center: Growing in God (afro.com)
- The Gift of Apostle (christianity201.wordpress.com)
- The Cross Comes With a Cost (focusedandfree.com)