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The Four Fold Ministry Ephesians 4:11


The apostle Paul speaks of 5 ministries in Ephesians 4:11 that are given by Christ to the church.  We call these ministries the "gifts of Christ" because the text states that Jesus gave these ministries as gifts.  As a side note, we see the "gifts of the Spirit" in 1 Corinthians 12:.  The difference between the gifts of Christ and the gifts of the Spirit is that the gifts of Christ is a ministry, a job, or, a life's work.  The gifts of the Spirit are not a ministry or one's life's work.  They are simply gifts that are given in a gathering, or wherever, to benefit the recipient of the gift.


The five ministries listed in Ephesians 4:11 are, apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers. You will note that there are five ministries listed.  Many people miss this point, but because of the Greek sentence structure here, pastor and teacher are the same ministry.  Therefore, we don't have a five fold ministry as many think..  We have a four fold ministry.  They are; apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor/teacher.    


My intent in this short article is not to explain each ministry in detail.  My intent is simply to explain them by using a modern day business example. 


You can think of the prophet as a visionary; the one who has the vision, the grand ideas for the business.  You can think of the apostle as the one in business who knows how to put legs to the vision, or, brings reality to the vision.  He takes the vision and creates the business.  The evangelist goes out and gathers support and employees for the business.  You can have a business unless you have people to work in the business.  The pastor/teacher is the one who daily manages and cares for the business.  He keeps the business on the right track, on a good level playing field so it can grow. 


If you can think of these ministries in this way, you'll have a good beginning to understanding the four fold ministry. 


The prophet has the prophetic blue print, the vision from the Lord.  The apostle puts legs on the vision to bring it into reality.  The evangelist preaches the gospel and wins people to the Lord  to participate in the prophetic vision.  The pastor/ teacher cares for and teaches the converts in order to keep them and the church on the right track.         



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