Session 15—APEST in a Missional Community

Ephesians 4—

  • Paul is speaking to a church where Jews and Gentiles are becoming one new humanity

  • “I urge you to walk in a manner…with humilty…love…one body…one lord, one baptism…God over all and through all.”

    • This is not about your individual fulfillment…it is about the fulfillment of God’s church, one body together.

  • “A host of captives…given gifts to men.”

  • “And he gave to the church…apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds, and teachers.”

    • Given to the body to equip others for the purpose of the church. Unity in one God—the knowledge of who Christ is, is expressed through these 5 giftings. If you only know one, you only know one aspect of who Christ is—He is all of them.

    • Jesus is the fullness of each of these.

  • So that we may no longer be children…carried about by craftiness and human schemes.

    • If we aren’t matured, we will be tossed about.

  • Rather, speaking the truth in love…

    • We manifest Christ through these 5 pieces in love

    • When each part is working properly…we will grow. Every one of them is necessary

What do these 5 do?

  • Apostle—(little ‘a’ apostle…not Apostle as in Peter.)

    • Apostlos…missionaries (Apostle=Greek based, missionary=Latin based word).

    • Apostles push the church with a missionary impulse. We are people called out, to bless all people, moving forward in missionary identity.

    • Without this, the church becomes a lonely outpost with no outward impulse

  • Prophet

    • Calls us to the Word of God—what is He saying to His people?

    • Let His Word rest in our souls. Calls to obedience.

    • Typical Prophet—The Bible teaches this….obey it! It is God’s word! Why wouldn’t we be called to obey it!

    • Let’s stop leaving the word and start staying in the word…let’s be faithful to His word and stay in a place long enough to put down roots and bless this place so that it looks like the Kingdom of God

  • Evangelist

    • Call people in to Jesus Christ. “Come along!”

    • They like to gather larger and larger groups. Winsome in how they talk about Jesus. They attract people.

    • They can’t stop about how great Jesus is.

    • Evangelists herald the good news of Jesus

  • Shepherd—

    • What is going on inside of you?

    • The shepherd will know the sheep and pays close attention to them. A deep care for the soul of God’s people.

    • We need shepherds so as to care for the people…they ask things like: “How is your affection for Jesus?”

    • They think of the overflow of the heart; the pursuance of the Lord

  • Teacher

    • This is what God says—it has authority—look into your life, how then do we obey and walk this Word of God out.

    • Concerned with the practical application of God’s word (Teach them to do all I have commanded you)

    • Teachers and Prophets are often confused

      • Teachers will methodically walk out what it means and why it means that—will bring a systematic understanding. “Let me help you understand how this affects your life.”

      • Prophets lean more toward the “thus sayeth the Lord.”

It would be bad if a community was made up of only one type of gift

  • Only Apostles…running fast…no roots, no deep understanding or explanation of purpose.

  • Only Evangelists…everyone loves Jesus…but they might not know Him well.

  • Only Shepherds—maybe only devoted to one another and not to the mission

  • Only Teachers—super devoted to bible studies, languages…but not going anywhere and

We really need all of them in order to grow up into maturity.

  • Jesus is all of them, we are His church together.

  • We all need each other…shared leadership is important for MCs and Churches

Who is in our group? What is our group’s character like?

  • Might need a survey tool to find out what you are like (check out the link here to learn more).

  • Things to notice about your small group/missional community…we lean in these ways:

    • Apostle Driven—usually talks about new things to start, new ground, new people to reach.

    • Prophet Driven—talks about injustice

    • Evangelist Driven—who are the unbelievers

    • Shepherd Driven—becomes a care group

    • Teacher Driven—becomes a bible study

How can we grow in the other areas?

  • Where do we need to grow? Are there people in our group that have these gifts that need cultivated? How are we creating opportunities for them to grow and use their gifts?

  • Might need to ask someone from the church to join our group that has a gift that we don’t have represented. Might need mentoring for the immature in the group. Might need training from outside the group. –what if we think of ourselves as one body? This is a good move ecumenically—would bring about unity.

Push people into activities that force them to grow up in their gifts

  • Get out of your comfort zones.

  • Who have we not blessed?

  • Where have we not dealt with sin? Blessed the city?

  • Do we share the good news with people? Can we practice with each other to share the gospel?

  • Are we healthy? Should we go on a retreat to shepherd together?

  • Are we growing in the Word? Are we becoming equipped to teach the word ourselves?

Questions for reflection:

  • 1. Take time to walk through what primary APEST gift you think each person in the group has.

  • 2. Where would you say our group is strongest and where is it weakest, in terms of APEST?

  • 3. In what ways will we create space and training to help us grow up in the APEST areas where we’re weakest?