The gift of Pastor/Shepherd
Primary Text: Ephesians 4:11-14
The gift of Pastor/Shepherd is the ability to assume responsibility for the spiritual growth and Christian community of a group of believers, and its purpose is to provide loving leadership and encouragement for people within the body of Christ to grow spiritually and be built into the local church.
Cautions about this gift include:
•Anything less than 100% sincerity in encouraging people in their faith.
•Having a sense of superiority about people who are less mature spiritually.
•Becoming cynical about the motives of other people.
• Shepherding people with the wrong motives.
Evidence that you might have this gift might be:
You receive joy from seeing others walk more closely with Jesus Christ.
•You care deeply about the spiritual welfare of the people in your local church.
•You are loyal and dedicated to your local church.
•You have the gift of Teaching and/or Exhortation
•You are process oriented and people are your focus.
Obviously, this would be a good gift for your pastor to have, and certainly it would be handy for Elders (or whatever you call them in your locality) to have, yet it isn’t always the case for everyone in leadership. We need to remember that Church is a team sport, and within any local leadership, there will be multiple gifts that aren’t all held by one person. I’ve been in church leadership a long time, and I don’t have this one, but one of the others always did, and there were plenty of times when someone with this gift would help me to see that I was about to trample over someone in my desire to get things moving, and thus we made a good team. Yep, the other guys might get a nudge from me to keep on target, and I might get a nudge from them to be sensitive to the needs and feelings of others: Teamwork!
The gift of Apostleship
Primary Text: Ephesians 4:11-14; 1 Corinthians 12:28 and Acts 15:22-35
The gift of Apostleship is the ability to provide spiritual leadership over a number of pastors and churches, resulting in tangible fruit for ministry. Its purpose is to strategically and spiritually lead, equip and organize others for the specific mission of building the local church.
This is not to be confused with an “Apostle” in the New Testament church in the sense of the “Twelve” who first traveled with Christ, or with Paul who was later recognized by Divine action as an Apostle. This type of Apostle is described in 2 Corinthians 12:12, and is NOT what we are talking about here. In addition, any position that is associated with the line of “Apostolic Succession” as used in the Catholic tradition, or anyone who has taken upon himself this title in a manner related in any way to Apostolic Succession, is outside the scope of this study and not what we are talking about here.
Where I come from, this is most often the function found in a “Church Planter,” In many denominations with a formal structure of hierarchy, what we are talking about here would be most often found in someone (hopefully) with a title like “bishop.”
The function of apostle as seen in Acts 15:22-35:
Selecting ministers to send to other churches.
Spiritual authority and guidance.
Develop Biblical policy for the church.
Yes, the word “apostle” creates some confusion in our time!
Cautions about the gift:
• Misusing the authority granted to you.
•Following your own agenda rather than God’s.
Evidence that you might have this gift might include:
• You have the spiritual gifts of Leadership and Faith.
•You have an unusual anointing on your leadership.
•You have the spiritual gifts of Administration and Wisdom.
•You possess a desire to pioneer and establish new ministries in churches.
•The body of Christ has and continues to affirm you in or toward a leadership role.
Next time we’ll take a look at Missionary and Prophet, see you then!