Ephesians 4:11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, (12) to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, (13) until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, (14) so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. (15) Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, (16) from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.
“What is your ministry?”
Surely every Christian has heard the question “what is your ministry?” or wondered about it. No matter who we are, we always ask ourselves why we are on this earth. We are constantly wondering what part of Christ’s body we are so that we don’t waste time on things that are out of purpose. This is correct and perfectly normal. I believe that if you have this doubt today, it is because you are on the right path and certainly in your heart burns the desire to do the Father’s will.
Ministries are God-given Gifts
There are three lists of God-given gifts in the New Testament. These are the lists of Rom 12, 1Co 12, and Eph 4. The list of Ephesians, however, deals with the gifts available for building the church. There are many debates between theologians and pastors about which ministries are still “valid” today. My intention with this text is to explore the theme as impartially as possible.
And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachersEphesians 4:11
For what and for whom?
The ministries are for all the holy people. That is, everyone who has declared Jesus Lord and follows his commandments. I see many Christians sometimes saying that they believe they have not been called to anything. This is a very serious mistake. Every Christian is part of the body of Christ and therefore has a specific function to which he has been called.
From whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.Ephesians 4:16
The ultimate purpose of this mutual cooperation among all the brothers is for the spiritual growth of all together and for the glory of God established in a perfect body as He is perfect.
We have no doubt that Jesus’ disciples became apostles and that Paul was also called to this position. The original word has the meaning of “send for a specific purpose”. There are two views defended today. The first is that the true apostles were only those commissioned by Christ Himself. That is, the 11 disciples and Paul. In a broader sense, we can define apostles as messengers who first announce the message to a particular people. In Brazil we see many church leaders called apostles, this is often due to people who founded certain denominations and began their ministry in this way. The meaning is not necessarily the same as that of the early church apostles, but this question divides many opinions.
The calling of the prophet also divides opinions in each denomination. The chief characteristic of the prophet has always been to proclaim God’s Word and to be used as God’s “mouth” among men. In the Old Testament the Holy Spirit was not yet available to all, so God used specific men to announce salvation in Christ Jesus. Knowing that the whole prophecy has been fulfilled in the Son, many Christians today believe that there are no more prophets today. The Word has already been written and there is nothing more to add to It. On the other hand, there are those who believe that God continues to use specific people to prophesy and announce God’s truths that are still hidden. That is, to the consolation and comfort of Christians in their walk.
It is extremely important to remember that predicting the future or things like horoscopes are abominations to God according to the Bible.
After the two most controversial callings in the present time, we go to those that are accepted throughout the church today. Evangelists are those who have been called to proclaim salvation through Jesus. Basically, they are those who bring the first contact to the one lost with the faith. Evangelization is not just about asking whether or not to accept Jesus, but about announcing redemption through the Son of God and call for repentance. An evangelist teaches the basis of the gospel to the lost to believe and be saved. Sometimes this task takes time and dedication and is not as easy as we sometimes think it is. Of course, we know that the one who convinces of sin and does all the work is the Holy Spirit. However, exercising the calling correctly is important for the body to grow in an orderly manner.
Shepherds and Teachers
Contrary to popular belief, pastors are not only those who stand upon the pulpit of the church. I have seen many here, including, calling me a pastor, but I am not. The fundamental characteristic of the one who has been called by God to the pastorate is the care of the people. They are those who are available to help the rest of the body grow spiritually. Whether by comforting or offering encouragement based on God’s Word, as well as instructing the church on the path it must take so that the faith of all Christians can mature. The word teacher, in fact, is about teaching someone to walk with Christ. The pastors are often the ones who have the patience and care to persist in teaching the faith as good teachers.
It is important to remember that before understanding what you are called to, it is crucial that you grow, mature, and be cared for by someone who is already in ministry. Not forgetting that love and the perfection of faith in Jesus is the essential part for the whole body of Christ to develop.
May the grace of our Lord be with all who love God and thus desire to fulfill his calling. God bless!
Know we better!
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