Just as the "little cloud...like a man's hand" (I Kings 18:44) preceeded the flooding rain, the five ministry giftings will preceed the greatest outpouring of the Holy Spirit in Holiness and power that the Church of Jesus Christ has ever known.
For almost two thousand years the Church has hobbled about in self-imposed weakness because of Her failure to recognize God's provision for power.
The same preachers who warn us: "Never pray for patience" for "tribulation worketh patience" (Romans 5:3) admonish us to pray and fast for maturity and unity, when our Father's provision is already revealed in Ephesians 4:11-15.
Perhaps their blindness to the truth is motivated by an improper understanding of the ministry gifts. Perhaps they feel that the recognition of these gifts would impose some sort of clerical heirarchy upon the Church. Quite the opposite is true. The function of the ministry gifts and their benefits are like salvation: our Heavenly Father doesn't force salvation on us, our acceptance of Christ as our Savior and all the ensuing benefits is voluntary. The same with the ministry gifts.
Several years ago, I flew to Florida to help my sister-in-law move back to Michigan. Before departing, I gave instructions to a friend to make sure the car was ready for the journey. When I arrived, I discovered that the car which was supposed to haul my sister-in-law and her family as well as a trailer had only four of it's six cylinders functioning. Additionally, the transmission had only second and third gear... no first or reverse! We survived the 1300 mile trip. However, our journey would have much easier had the car been functioning the way it's designers had intended.
As a young Christian, I was told to "read the red" (in other words: study the Gospels, especially the words of Christ). Well, I did. And one thing I learned by studying Jesus' teachings was that He expected the Church to walk in power, unity and maturity.
Thirty years later, I can only deduce that today's Church is weak and divided because we are running on only one or two cylinders instead of the five originally intended.
|Apostle||Doctrine and Discipline||Enjoys building things: projects, businesses, etc.|
|Prophet||Discern and Proclaim God's Word.||Has a keen (sometimes problematic) sense of Justice.|
|Evangelist||Present the Gospel of Christ to the lost.||Enjoys direct contact with people. Most are successful salesmen.|
|Pastor||To care for the everyday needs of the church family||Enjoys serving. Loves to have people come to their home.|
|Teacher||Instruct the Church in the practical application of God's Word.||Is able to explain complex issues in a way that even a child can understand.|