There are many assessments online designed to tell you if you have been called to fivefold ministry, however I cannot, at this time, endorse any of these in good faith. What I can say is that a basic spiritual gifts assessment like the one found at www.gifts.churchgrowth.org can give you a good indication of whether you may be called to be a prophet, teacher, pastor, or evangelist, based on how high your scores are in those areas. Additionally, I am convinced that whatever a person is “called” to or gifted with, God orchestrates situations and circumstances in their lives that give place for them to operate in that gift or calling.
So for the purposes of not teaching a class on each calling, I will give a simple overview of what each calling might look like in a person’s life. This subject matter, as with all Biblical principles, should be approached with diligent prayer and fasting. One should never haphazardly claim a calling from God, no matter how well meaning, because making such a claim comes with extreme responsibility. And yet, failing to answer the call can be even more disastrous. If you feel a calling on your life, pray and ask God to continue to send confirmation, to send you where you need to be in order to develop your gift, and to provide open doors for you to walk in that calling.
Below I list a few insights into what I believe the fivefold calling of Apostle and Prophet might look like in a Believes life. I separate these for the sake of theme allocation, but also because these two seem to be the most controversial in the Body of Christ today. Some organizations make great to do’s about these titles, and some dismiss them altogether. I believe the reality for us today is somewhere in the middle.
Apostle: The original language Paul uses for this word describes someone who is sent. But this title of apostle quickly developed into a role of the highest authority in the church, as well as defining those who planted churches. For the sake of suitability and simplicity, I will deal solely with the original definition and the Biblical roles the calling reflected. Undoubtedly this person is “sent by God.” Therefore, only the individual can truly say whether they have been sent, however, as stated before, and as with any calling, the evidence in the individual’s life will be clear to most if not all. So where are these individuals sent to? Jesus commanded His apostles to go into all the world…and make disciples. We are all called to be witnesses, but some are specifically called to give their lives in order to go into all the world…and make disciples. The Biblical apostles also were the ones converts and growing Believers turn to to resolve disputes, rightly divide scripture, and provide leadership and direction to the churches. I believe modern day apostolic callings might be reflected in the various categories of church leaders, church planters, and missionaries. Those who have a leadership gift from God, great wisdom and influence in the church, and have felt specifically called to give their life for those purposes and to go to the ends of the earth to make disciples and plant churches where none or few exist.
Prophet: This one is hard for me because everybody wants to be a prophet, i.e. tell the future. Any demon can predict the future! A prophet of God cares much less about the future, and much more about sin! In simple terms, God consistently reveals secret and hidden things to these individuals; and they can sense the signs of the times and moves of God greater than any other calling. In deeper terms, they warn God’s people of sin and judgement, and their lives are significantly richer and more intimate with God than most people can imagine. And on the deepest level, these people cannot tolerate sin, and tend to have an almost blameless walk with God; not because they are better, but simply because they don’t tolerate sin well, and their relationship with God is so intimate and abundant. Any knowledge about the future these individuals get from God is solely for the purpose of drawing God’s people out of sin and into greater obedience and fellowship with Him.
Next week I will touch of the final three callings of the fivefold ministry. In the meantime, I pray that you have been challenged and encouraged to ask God whether you have been called, and what that calling means for your life! If you’ve never done so before, Make this Monday Matter and start today!
Seeking to Grow my Walk with God and Others,