KingdomInsight

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Five gateway skills may explain how to build God's Kingdom.  These are listed in Ephesians 4:11.  Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors, and Teachers.  In times past, there were Biblical scholars who argued whether or not these positions exist today.  But what if they should be considered more like job description skills rather than titles of ecclesiastical positions?  In my opinion, all Christians need to be equipped to have all five skills within them in various proportions and concentrations, and all Christians should be DOING them.

Apostle (Planter) = We should be equipped for planting, strengthening existing works, and supporting new works that serve others, which also build the Kingdom.  Learn MORE!

Prophet (Perceiver) = We are given the Spirit of Truth for perceiving and understanding the Truth of what God says.  We should be equipped to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit, rejoice in Truth, and turn to the Word for wisdom and discernment.  We should all be Bereans daily.

Evangelist (Proclaimer) = We should be equipped for proclaiming or, in other words - telling others with our words, about God and His Good News and Abundant Life in our day to day conversations, in our casual or serious conversations.  The word Gospel means "news that's nearly too good to be true."  We proclaim the Good News of Salvation through the sacrifice that demonstrates the love of God, saving us from our sins and the kingdom of darkness and death, and translating us into the Kingdom of Christ.

Preacher (Guide and Caregiver) = We should all be equipped for giving care and guidance to all around us.  We serve where Christ and His Holy Spirit lead us to serve.  We feed God's sheep and take care of widows, strangers, orphans, and the poor.  We minister to prisoners.  The word pastoral focuses on shepherding and caring, the DOING of which we are all capable.

Teacher (Imparter) = We should be equipped and instructed to be instant at any time to give an answer and impart God's Truth.  We need to entrust what we understand to faithful people what we have learned, who will then teach others.

Let's explore some questions.  I think the first three words of Ephesians 4:11 are three of the most DIRECTIVE words in all of Scripture, "And God gave..."  This tells me every spiritual leader should consider "giving away" ministry to others and intentionally empowering them to be successful, which may also mean learning how to take risks on other people and casting out one's own fear of failure.  Since God gave us His five primary pillars of building His Kingdom, and risked both success and failure on us, don't you think every spiritual leader should do the same - passing on what they understand to faithful people who will teach others?

If I take a correct overview of God's description of a NT church or assembly, shouldn't we find these 5 equally present in operation in leadership in our assemblies?  YES?  Do we find all 5 in any given assembly?  I DON'T THINK SO.  We may find two or three in operation, namely Preachers and Teachers, but not all 5.  All 5 are most likely found among various churches within a community, but not in one individual church.  Well then, think about this, since these 5 equippers are seldom found in one church, but are almost always found in the community, perhaps the community is where God looks to see the 'church'.   Remember, the Church at Corinth, the Church in Rome, the Church at Ephesus.  These communities had many congregations, one church.   Today, are churches and the believers across a community working cooperatively together, combining all 5 to build and enlarge God's Kingdom?  I DON'T SEE IT. 

Have we made one gift more important than another?  If by chance all five are present in one assembly, are they held to be equal?  I DON'T THINK SO. One has been elevated over the other four.  Is this Biblical?  I DON'T THINK SO.

Two take-away points.  Has satan blinded us and separated us so deeply in sectarianism (isolated units) that the church is totally ineffective in society and government and in our national spiritual life?  I THINK SO.  Has satan deceived us into an ineffective leadership structure within individual congregations?  I THINK SO.

What say you?

Blessings, Dave

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Hi Dave. I have a thought that is along the lines of Kingdom Skills or Spiritual Insight provided by Grace.

I am 61and I have been taking nutrients for several years to stay as healthy as possible as I get older. I get health ezines. 1 was talking about DHEA so in the health food section of my store, I bought a bottle and tried it. On a Wednesday morning, I woke up with seizure like symptoms-racing heart, tingling nerves tunnel vision and blood shot eyes. I called off of work but I didn't know what it was. I never suspected DHEA because everything I heard was positive.

That Friday I was off work so I did a test. I didn't eat anything or take any nutrients except 1 25 mg tab of DHEA. Early the next morning I woke up with the same seizure like symptoms. I threw the bottle away but for the last two weeks I had the same early morning wake-up call. It made it very hard at work and it kept me on my knees. The Lord lifted it two days ago.

One lesson was about the workings of DHEA, but the greater lesson was far deeper. I have been praying for others that pass thru my space for a long time now, but now those prayers are deeper because I got a chance to walk in their shoes.

Jesus is our Chief Corner Stone or the top of our pyramid. In Heaven, there are levels-a right side up pyramid. Jesus not only paid the debt for the deepest sin, He felt the consequences of the deepest pain. In Hell is an upside down pyramid-cells in levels. One cell at the very bottom of the upside down pyramid had never been occupied and is never to be occupied again. It was reserved for Jesus to taste Death and Pain and Panic and anything else it is possible to experience as the son of Adam.

During my pain, I was watching Joni Erickson Tada and she was talking about the depression that is trying to set into her life. I felt right then what she was talking about. I was in her shoes.

As a Kingdom person, I am learning not to let anybody pass thru my space without interceding for them.

Now, to apply it: At UD, they are installing a $100,000 projection system in the Presidents Dining Room and it is anchored to the steel trusses with no isolation mounts, stabilizers or anything so any vibration however slight, shows up on the screen. The dining room is directly under a rooftop full of fans.

While we were tracking down the sources of vibration, I asked the installer why they didn't have isolation mounts, shock mounts, insulators or the like as the hideaway system uses mirrors sensitive to vibration. I hurt his feelings and caused momentary confusion by momentarily forgetting who I am and Who I represent in my coming in and going out. For UD, this is big stuff as the Board of Directors is meeting Monday to see the new system.

As a child of the King, my Savior purchased for me, access 24/7 to the Engineers' Engineer and the Architect's Architect. So I have asked the Lord to intervene in this so when all is said and done, not only will it be stable but that someday in Eternity that everyone involved in this -that we might lay our Crowns at Jesus' feet to the Glory of our Father.

If all one gets is me, they would have been better off alone, but if I bring Jesus thru prayer, none of us will ever be the same.

What do ya think, Dave? :-)

Good to see you,

Mark

Good insight, Dave. I grew up in a church that couldn't tell you who their prophet or apostle were. They'd assumed those were ministries relegated to the first century. Today, more and more pastors CAN tell you who their prophets, and apostles, are; but when you ask who their evangelist, is, their eyes glaze over. It seems to me that we've become quite selective as to which of these gifts we will recognize, develop and honor. And perhaps that's because in (perhaps) most places the saints are equipping their pastors for the work of ministry, rather than the pastor equipping them.

Eddie, 

I'd see this…

     That the ecclesia, the church, the body of Christ exists across a community...  across the community there are congregations, most led by a pastor; there are also organizations that do benevolent work, often led by a planter; organizations that focus on outreach, often led by an evangelist.   For each respective ministry, it is important that the ministry has the appropriate leadership.   However, we need to be careful NOT to think of any 'part' as the 'whole'.   The parts are, well, parts.   The whole is the body.

     Agreed, ministries such as local churches tend to focus on developing and honoring particular gifts.   They, of course, focus on developing the gifts and functions that they most need to function.   Regarding the evangelist – the local church doesn’t need an evangelist to preach to the congregation; he’d be preaching to the choir.   So they tend not to develop evangelists.    That shouldn’t be a mystery.   The mystery is this – that we simply do not see that the body of Christ exists across the community.   The Church at Ephesus, the Church at Corinth, the Church in my home town.   In most every community there are those who not only can act as evangelists, prophets, and planters (apostles), etc., there are those who can equip all of us to do these basic things:   share our faith, hear from God, plant or assist in starting a new work for God.   Christ places these equippers in his body to mature it.   

     We, his body, the church, have all we need for life and godliness.   2 Tim. chapter one says that in Christ we have all we need.   The problem - as I see it, is that EVEN THOUGH there are equippers – placed in the body by Christ himself, even though they are there scattered across a community, their ability to do the work of equipping is limited.  Why?  That is because the body of Christ is not connected.   Here is something important:   I am saying the problem is NOT one ‘generated’ by the focus of the local church.

I am saying the problem is that the body of Christ is not connected.

It is one thing to SAY the body of Christ should be connected within a community.    It is quite another to see that happen.   People are trying to connect.    Here is what I have heard from God in this matter.    This is the reason why many efforts to set things right are failing or producing less that great results.   It is a DNA problem.    If our DNA has in it things it should NOT have OR, conversely, if it is missing things it needs to have, we will never see the growth and fruit that God intended.

Here is what we are doing…   Understanding the DNA of the church, the ecclesia and learning how to live it out in our communities.   Simply and intentionally.   MORE on this HERE



Eddie Smith said:

Good insight, Dave. I grew up in a church that couldn't tell you who their prophet or apostle were. They'd assumed those were ministries relegated to the first century. Today, more and more pastors CAN tell you who their prophets, and apostles, are; but when you ask who their evangelist, is, their eyes glaze over. It seems to me that we've become quite selective as to which of these gifts we will recognize, develop and honor. And perhaps that's because in (perhaps) most places the saints are equipping their pastors for the work of ministry, rather than the pastor equipping them.

Dear Eddie and Juanita,

I don't believe I can recall of ANY church wherein all 5 gateway skills (or persons--Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Preachers, Teachers) were present.  We may find these 5 AMONG various churches within a community, but most likely not IN any singular congregation.  I'm convinced that is why satan has focused on deceiving the church into completely separated sectarian units.  That way, it remains powerless to influence society and build God's Kingdom.  Instead of the church controlling the state (as originally intended in Scripture and in the US Constitution), the state now thoroughly regulates the church.  Sad state of affairs, the church is the "tail" not the "head."  Anyone for turning this around?  The Church, beyond four walls, needs to be reunited and allied back to what it was BEFORE centuries of splintering.

Blessings, Dave



Mark Edward Kroger said:

Hi Dave. I have a thought that is along the lines of Kingdom Skills or Spiritual Insight provided by Grace.

...(excerpted)...

If all one gets is me, they would have been better off alone, but if I bring Jesus thru prayer, none of us will ever be the same.

What do ya think, Dave? :-)

Good to see you,

Mark

 

Dear Mark,

As I read your note, I agree--let nothing be done without prayer.  I noted you mentioned one specific type of prayer--intercession.  I believe that all five of the gateway skills and all 5 of the persons (apostles, prophets, evangelists, preachers, teachers) need to be intercessors.  I don't believe intercession is gifted to a particular few, as is thought in some present Christian circles.  Who in Christianity under the New Covenant is exempted from being a high priest for ministering to the Lord?

Blessings, Dave

Actually, think about this, Dave...   Let me know what you think...

I think there IS a church were all 5 are 'internalized'.     And, IMO, when we build and it produces less-than-positive outcomes, we should learn to build differently.  When the 5 are internalized, I think that the outcomes have been less than positive for the community, although VERY positive for the congregation.

These congregations I am speaking of are the mega-churches.    I think one reason they are able to grow so large is that many of them internalize all 5 equipping roles.   They then 'explode' in growth, often because 'so much is happening.'   Because 'so much is happening', believers from across the region are attracted to the church and it balloons.    What it the outcome?   Fellowships across the region are impoverished as their people leave for 'better pastures'.   I understand that when TD Jakes opened his church in Dallas that as many as 200 black churches closed.    Not only that, the 'churn' of most mega churches is enormous ~ often turning over 20% per year.   This is non-sustainable and many mega's are now in decline.

In a human body, when any one part becomes the focus of the body, gathering for itself all of the resources, it is called disease.   It is not healthy.    These 5 equipping roles are given to mature the body; however, if their benefit is so concentrated that it begins to create an imbalance in the body ~ HOW we are approaching doing the work should be examined.    Do we do that?   NO!   Each part of the body acts independently, often without regard to the body across a community.   This is EXACTLY what I am saying.   The body needs to connect, and collectively understand what the mission is and how to accomplish it.

The bottom line is this ~ is the mission to build MY church, or MY house as Haggai says?   Or, is the mission to build disciplined followers who can reproduce other disciplined followers?    What do you think?   

And, can you see that if we were to join and take responsibility for our communities, that the ROLE would be different for the leaders.   But, the role would also be different for all of us... it would be that together we would try to find the best way to extend the Kingdom.  That is what the Ecclesia was - the coming together of the body of Christ to consider the needs of the community of faith.   The ecclesia isn't the building on the corner; those in the building on the corner are part of the ecclesia across the community.  

Our responsibility has never changed.  Our responsibility is not to build individual ministries.   Our responsibility is to form individual ministries for the purpose of proclaiming and living out the good news of the Kingdom, that people can stop living in the kingdom of darkness and can live as full citizens of the Kingdom of light ~ with the responsibilities and benefits of the Kingdom!   


Dave Knauss said:

Dear Eddie and Juanita,

I don't believe I can recall of ANY church wherein all 5 gateway skills (or persons--Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Preachers, Teachers) were present.  We may find these 5 AMONG various churches within a community, but most likely not IN any singular congregation.  I'm convinced that is why satan has focused on deceiving the church into completely separated sectarian units.  That way, it remains powerless to influence society and build God's Kingdom.  Instead of the church controlling the state (as originally intended in Scripture and in the US Constitution), the state now thoroughly regulates the church.  Sad state of affairs, the church is the "tail" not the "head."  Anyone for turning this around?  The Church, beyond four walls, needs to be reunited and allied back to what it was BEFORE centuries of splintering.

Blessings, Dave

Juanita,

From my teaching the Visitor Retention course to many churches in all parts of our nation over the last 3 1/2 years, I reluctantly have to agree with your observations regarding mega churches grow and that they probably do have the presence of all five Kingdom skills.  I also agree with your observations that mega churches are growing probably because more Christians are switching churches than unsaved are being rescued from perdition.

So let's explore this further.  Why are the 5 gateway skills NOT being exercised even when they are present in one church?  And why the lack of evangelistic focus?

Blessings, Dave

Hmm...  good questions...

Let me 'weigh in' and others may have some thoughts, too.

First  - Why are the 5 gateway skills NOT being exercised even when they are present in one church? 

    I think it is hard to exercise these 'in' the local church.  

    I want to talk about just a couple:  Apostolic and Imparter.  The scope of many local churches is what happens on Sunday Morning.   How many new things can we start on Sunday Morning (apostolic) AND, furthermore - is this HOW we should grow?   Most churches already spend most of their time and resources being inward focused.  The local church is a congregation of believers ~ if we spend the majority of our effort just building our congregation, what about building at the other levels:  Individual, Marriage, Family, Community, etc.?    The way Paul is practicing the 7 Devotions in his Breaking of Bread times, mostly with his family and extended family takes work, effort AND he had to step out an 'plant' them.   Many local churches would be afraid to send people out to plant 'new works' such as what Paul is doing.   They are afraid of people going out an making messes.   And, that happens!    This is because, IMO, the one gift, "Imparting", is not done 'out there' where people can live it, see it, imitate it, etc.   If the church shifts the focus from what happens 'in here' to what happens 'out there' ~ this is a risk.   People who are coming are coming with certain expectations.   Shift those expectations and you will lose people.   Losing people by simply shifting expectations is potentially 'breaking the wineskin'.   Yes, it may go good for those who make the change, but how good will it go for the people who are lost?   Or, what if the church loses so many members it has to close.   Changing what exists is difficult and has pitfalls...   



Dave Knauss said:

Juanita,

From my teaching the Visitor Retention course to many churches in all parts of our nation over the last 3 1/2 years, I reluctantly have to agree with your observations regarding mega churches grow and that they probably do have the presence of all five Kingdom skills.  I also agree with your observations that mega churches are growing probably because more Christians are switching churches than unsaved are being rescued from perdition.

So let's explore this further.  Why are the 5 gateway skills NOT being exercised even when they are present in one church?  And why the lack of evangelistic focus?

Blessings, Dave

Second...  "Why the lack of evangelistic focus?" in the local church?

         The pastor gathers sheep.

         The evangelist draws a line and scatters people - who is FOR Christ - who is NOT for Christ?

         

         The pastor tries to 'make peace'

         The evangelist creates 'division' - dividing those who will follow Christ from those who will not...

         The pastor focuses on the sheep 'in the pen'

         The evangelist focuses on those outside

       

         To a large extent, a pastor can be politically correct

          When the evangelist opens his mouth to tell a person what they should believe, he is NOT politically correct

         These gifts are opposite in many ways - because of things like above, I think there is no place for evangelists in most local churches.


Dave Knauss said:

Juanita,

From my teaching the Visitor Retention course to many churches in all parts of our nation over the last 3 1/2 years, I reluctantly have to agree with your observations regarding mega churches grow and that they probably do have the presence of all five Kingdom skills.  I also agree with your observations that mega churches are growing probably because more Christians are switching churches than unsaved are being rescued from perdition.

So let's explore this further.  Why are the 5 gateway skills NOT being exercised even when they are present in one church?  And why the lack of evangelistic focus?

Blessings, Dave

I just added a new group!    Family Building!   I'd love it if you would do two things...

    1) Join!

    2) Do a comment on how YOU have worked to build your family together with Christ as the center!

The group is HERE...

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