St. Elmo Edwards

Used with Permission - Destiny Spirit Ministries (Donna Astern) 

In this season, many are dissatisfied with the current operation of ministry found on Sunday mornings. They long for the corporate experience of worship as the people of God in which His presence is felt and His power is demonstrated.  No longer satisfied with the basic milk of spiritual food, they long to be fed something they can sink their teeth into — something meaty which gives them pause and makes them stronger.

God in His wisdom knew we would need help if we were ever going to mature and become conformed to the image of Christ. So Jesus left His mantle of leadership here on the earth and called men and women to take up that mantle and enter into His service.

These five leadership offices are gifts from the Lord Jesus to His Church.

“And He gave some {as} apostles, and some {as} prophets, and some {as} evangelists, and some {as} pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.
(Eph 4:11-13)

Each of these offices is anointed and gifted in various capacities and given the responsibility to equip believers, so that they become useful servants, and to build believers together as the body of Christ, the expression of His desires and heart on the earth. The fivefold ministry gifts are given to bring us into God’s desire for His Church.

All five offices work to bring maturity and health. In a nutshell:

  • *The apostle pioneers, reveals heaven’s blueprint, troubleshoots, makes corrections, challenges, and pushes for alignment to Jesus, the Chief Cornerstone.
  • *The prophet reveals the heart and mind of God in the present time and also what is to come.
  • *The evangelist points believers outside the four walls to co-labor with the miracle-working Lord of the harvest.
  • *The pastor provides comfort, nurture, encouragement, healing, counsel, and protection.
  • *The teacher breaks down the apostles’ doctrine into digestible pieces so that the hearers can understand and apply it in their lives.

Instead of staying immature, easily knocked around by life’s challenges, and naive, God intends for us to grow up.

“As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all {aspects} into Him who is the head, {even} Christ” (Eph 4:14-15)

Growing up means we have to learn how to love, learn how to become established in solid healthy doctrine, and spiritually alert. It is especially important because the times we are living in are increasingly diabolical in deception. I am sometimes amazed by the level of deception I hear from the mouths of Spirit-baptized believers, and wondered if they have ever even read the Bible for themselves. Deception is not only in obvious twisting of Scripture, but also seen in justification for holding onto offense and rebellion.

The cure for a weak, bickering, sick, powerless, self-absorbed, scattered Church is receiving the ministry of the fivefold.

However, some have taken this to mean that the fivefold is meant to come and lord it over the people with harsh words and legalism. This is not the picture of the ministry of Jesus.

The gospels show us many examples of Jesus’ perfect leadership. Little children loved to be around him. Sinners felt they could talk to Him. Hurting people reached out to Him. The religious, legalistic, controlling elite hated Him for He told the truth about their practices and their hardened hearts. He exposed their corruption and called the people back to love, prayer, worship, forgiveness, holiness, and service.

“…And the common people heard him gladly.” (Mark 12:37)

I have seen many people receive fivefold ministry only until they were called to maturity and service. What a contrast to the natural realm of childhood! A child wants to grow up! A baby wants to crawl, then walk. More and more he asserts his independence: “Me do it!” He loves to be a “big boy” and help Mom and Dad.

If we do not love to grow up and make ourselves useful in the Kingdom, something is seriously wrong!

There is an increasing desire for God’s government to increase in the Church.

More and more local believers are abandoning religious structures that restrict the fivefold offices from carrying out their divine assignments.

Many who entered into fivefold ministry without being divinely called and set apart by God are leaving the ministry. Many genuinely called, but beaten and discouraged, are on a kind of sabbatical, looking for the direction of the still, small voice. Many leaders are gaining courage and shaking off the fear of what people will say or do, glory to God! We need leaders to enter into the fullness of their office and to not back down when faced with resistance from immature or self-centered people.

Paul wrote that he magnified his apostolic office for the purpose of provoking others so they might be saved. (Rom 11:13)

We are coming to a time of greater resurgence and acceptance of fivefold ministry by appreciative believers, as Father God works to bring all things together in Christ (Eph 1:10).

Choose to receive these gifts Jesus sent to you.

Find your place in the Body of Christ and how you may express the life of Jesus on the earth.

How do you relate to your apostle? Your pastor? Push past offenses and receive the word sent to liberate you. Choose to learn to walk in love, in accuracy, and in greater service to the Kingdom!

We need you to take your place in the Body of Christ and fulfill your ministry!

“And He was saying to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” (Luke 10:2)

About St. Elmo Edwards

St. Elmo Edwards loves Jesus. He desires to bring hope to people who are hurting, bring hope to those who would like to live a life that is more rewarding. 

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