The function of the body of Christ, or the church, can be summed up within these five attributes: apostolic, prophetic, evangelistic, shepherding, and teaching. We find these in Ephesians 4. When all five are seen, valued, and working together, then church and church movements will be healthy. When one is dominant over the others, church starts to lose its potency. Why? Because as we operate in these functions, we grow up in maturity into the head, which is Christ – and Christ is what makes church potent.
The Five Functions
Each of the five functions of church are for the mending of the body and for the covering the earth with the glory of God:
The Apostolic function is both for the extending of the Kingdom of God (outside) and the planting and guardianship of the DNA of church (inside).
The Prophetic function is both for truth-telling and activating others towards the marginalized and neglected (outside) and the keeping of the covenant with God, pointing people towards righteousness and holiness – prayer and worship. (inside).
The Evangelistic function is both for inviting people into God’s story (outside) and to mobilize the body of Christ to a cause (inside).
The Shepherding function is both for connecting communities, neighbors, and cities together (outside) and protecting, caring for and connecting the body with each other for healing and growth (inside).
The Teaching function is both for the contextualizing of the message to pre-believers (outside) and the unveiling of God’s truth to the body (inside).
How The Gifts Show Up
These functions of the church work out in the way that we are gifted. We have all five of these gifts from Jesus within us, but one is primary. The primary gift is the person’s motivation. It’s the lens in which they view the world. So, when a problem occurs, the solution often ends up looking like it comes from the primary gift. The secondary gift is how the person operates in the world. For example, I’m an apostolic teacher. Before diving in to APEST, I wrote a mission statement for my life: I coach and train others to ignite movements to Jesus. Looking at this mission statement, I can see that I use my teaching gift to accomplish my apostolic motivation.
As we operate properly within these functions, as shown to us by Jesus himself, we will live in loving obedience to Jesus and bring about the love of and obedience to Jesus in people and places where He is not known yet.
Much of this blog came from Joshua Johnson’s Pocket Guide to Healthy Church, which can be downloaded for free!
Check out our May 2022 Social Media (Instagram and Facebook) for more on these five functions, and other ways people have been #WonderfullyWired in different ways to engage in extending God’s love globally.
Want to learn more about APEST? Check out this free Ignite Online Recording from May 2020 on APEST.