One young pastor was troubled. He confided in his supervisor, “I was trained in seminary to be a pastor and a teacher. Now the congregation wants me to be a leader. No one ever taught me how to do that.”
Dr. Kim Cape, General Secretary of the Board of Higher Education and Ministry of the United Methodist Church w says “The local church does not have enough prophets, apostles, and evangelists.” She is referring to Ephesians 4 where Paul writes about how the local church might structure its common life together: “He gave some apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers. His purpose was to equip God’s people for the work of serving and building up the body of Christ until we all reach the unity of faith and knowledge of God’s Son.” (vv. 11-13).
In the church we are overloaded with pastors and teachers. We cannot survive with clergy and lay leaders who are predominantly pastors and teachers, even though these pastors and teachers may be extraordinarily gifted “mature adults….fully grown, measured by the standard of fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13). These pastors and teachers do not fill all the needs for healthy, vibrant, and passionate church life. Nearly all leaders, lay and clergy alike, are trained to practice the gifts of pastoring and teaching at the expense of being apostles, prophets and evangelists.
Apostles, prophets, and evangelists do leadership work in reaching beyond the church’s walls to unchurched people. They are essential to model and train others to that behavior as well. They are indispensable to building up the body as opposed to maintaining it. Today’s church needs our pastors and lay leaders to adapt from a purpose that limits itself to the functions of caregiving and teaching alone (as noble and important as these tasks are) into the broad-based functions of leadership that include apostles, prophets, and evangelists.
Who are the leaders in your local congregation? Who are the apostles, prophets, and evangelists?