Five Fold Ministry and Isaiah 28:23-29
by Cindie York
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In Isaiah, the farmer is able through the wisdom of God and His direction to cultivate, plant, reap, etc. The farmers don't just plow and break up the ground, when the field is ready, they scatter the seeds, they plant in the proper places and they learn this from God. After the harvest, that which they have reaped are prepared (pounded, shaped, formed), which is through the wisdom given by the Lord God.
Separated, each of the five fold ministries has a primary purpose, but I believe God can use them to do any of the above mentioned: plant, cultivate, reap, and mold/pound/direct. The techniques for implementation and their methods being used may and probably will be different. There are significant differences in how the seeds are planted. One must look at what type of seed does better in what type of soil, the amount of sun or shade necessary for the crop to thrive. When is the proper time to sow? There is a lot of thought and preparation that is vital prior to sowing the first seed.
It is clear that every farmer will have a special ability to plant certain seeds well and certainly will have a specific area of better achievement. For example, a potato farmer specializes in potatoes. Not that the farmer is incapable of planting corn but he is more likely to harvest more potatoes if that is his or her area of expertise. Does that mean that he canít grow corn? No, but he may not be as effective with the corn crops. On the other hand, the corn farmer may not be able to raise many potatoes either. Neither one is more important than the other. Both are still farmers. Both reap the harvest.
God loves diversity. Every seed and plant is different, just as people are different. Every single seed, plant, vegetable, fruit, tree, vine, and person has a unique quality. I truly believe that is why there are so many differences in preaching and teaching techniques. What reaches one heart and mind may not penetrate another. It doesnít necessarily make one right and one wrong, just different. Now when it comes to preaching or teaching Godís Word, it must align with the Bible or it is false doctrine. False doctrine, deceit, lies, and manipulation is absolutely intolerable and abominable.
Now, the Teacher does plant seeds, but the Evangelist and Apostle must also plant seed. The Pastor must also plant seed in some form for the growth of the crop of which he or she has been given leadership. The Prophet also will plant some seed such as the seed of repentance, wisdom, correction.
The Teacher definitely plants the seed as their primary purpose. Mostly a Teacher is in a structured environment with the main goal to enlighten and educate, to bring something new. But, in some instances the Teacher has to be the one to break the ground and make preparation for the seed to be planted or they are just tossing the seeds on the ground, or in the wind and they won't take root and will be blown away, just like the wheat and tares. Without the seed, there is no harvest. The Teacher can be used in the church or out of the church.
The Evangelist will go out, they may need to plow some ground initially, but then will plant some seed. The Evangelist will bring in the harvest because their primary purpose is to go out and compel the lost to come in. Or to travel to churches, areas, peoples in need of something fresh, new, to bring a spark, to rekindle a fire. The Evangelist may even reap some of the harvest that the Teacher or Prophet or Pastor had cultivated and planted depending on the circumstance. I would say also that in some of these villages or "unchurched" areas the people will have to be taught and prepared before the message can be received. The Evangelist will preach the gospel with fire and anointing being bold and truthful not worrying about what the crop/flock thinks, actually not knowing any particulars about the group just being led by God. Does any of this make sense?
The Pastor will be used primarily to prepare, direct, instruct (pound, beat, mold), if you will, his particular flock (crop). Yes, he will teach, he will break and beat (if he loves his crop and wants them to be used according to the purpose God intended). The Pastor knows the needs, desires, lives, personalities, etc. of those who he is entrusted to take care of. He will care, love, protect, and discipline like a parent or father figure would. His ministry will be 24/7, 365 days a year. Just like a mother's job is 24/7. I also believe he will reap as well because of his dedication to the crop, nurturing, feeding, knowing the when, how, and what given by the direction of the Almighty, All-knowing God.
I do believe the Prophet will be used to shake things up, to get the attention, to give insight and direction. The Prophet is given a direct word from God without a doubt. The Prophet will primarily sound the alarm. But I believe they too will reap according to their obedience and submission. A true Prophet will see the fruits of their labor as well. They will see a new creation after maybe breaking, enlightening, crushing or whatever it takes to bring forth a workable, usable finished product. I don't believe the Prophet will exactly teach or plant much but mostly pave the way for others to teach and nurture.
The Apostles are followers of Christ and are sent by Christ to take the message of the gospel to others. The Apostle is a witness. The Apostle tends to steer those on the wrong paths back to the right direction through teaching the ways of God and leading by example, like a mentor or leader would.
I have always considered the "true" Christian a disciple of Christ and in many ways I still believe that to be true but the term Apostle truly is more than that. Now that I think about it, I think Disciple is a term used too loosely. It is a generalized term to cover the modern day Christian but in reality an Apostle is one who would really have to make sacrifices, be truly active in the furthering of the Gospel, literally not caring about the comforts or possessions of modern day.
Of course, the Apostle is to me, the hardest to define. Because my perception of an apostle is John, Peter, Andrew, etc. Those who knew Christ and actually witnessed the miracles performed, heard His teachings with their own ears. They had personal relationships with Him. Christ literally and physically chose them to follow Him and walk along side of Him to learn from His example. They gained wisdom and direction from the ultimate mentor. The Apostles were not just followers but students, trying to gain as much insight in to this man called Jesus, the Messiah! They literally left all their possessions, jobs, etc. behind them, wandering about from place to place, constantly facing persecution, beating, brutality in many forms, and martyrdom. They had forsaken all else to further the Gospel of Christ. I mean can you actually call a particular person today an APOSTLE in that form?
I know there are missionaries throughout the world who are literally leaving the comforts and security of home and traveling abroad to teach, preach, extend the hand of compassion, giving themselves and sometimes forsaking all or almost all and pursuing the actual fulfillment of Christ's command to go unto all the world and preach the gospel, the good news. These people literally are in harmís way constantly and many are tortured and/or martyred. So I was trying to categorize it for modern day so... To me these Christian Missionaries are like the Apostles of old in that sense. I had never really thought about it before but...these Christians do have a personal relationship with Christ and they try to follow His example and live by His Word. Though no one is perfect, they must stay in fellowship and be led by His Spirit, they have to place their full trust in God to make provision and give guidance. They try to live by the standards given to us in God's Word. Christian missionaries teach and preach, guide, live as examples of Christ-like behavior, literal followers of Christ, trying to be lights, and witnesses. The streets (workplaces, homes, neighborhoods, even the church, mission fields, etc) are their classroom because this true Christian walks among the people, trying to be the light in the darkness, the living testimony, bearing the good fruit, showing love and compassion.
Now when I say Christian missionary, I am not referring to the ones who are very temporarily inconvenienced, who after a week or month return to the luxury of home and continue with their every day agendas. I do appreciate the Christian or even the non-believer who gives their time to help another in need in any form but there is a definite difference between the work of benevolence and aide and the life of those who are out in the middle of nowhere, dodging bullets to tell some lonely stranger about our Lord and Savior because they have a deep burden to see the lost saved and those in need to be provided for.
Also, the Apostle can operate in the gifts of the spirit, lay hands on the sick, who allow God to use them for service, and to be the conduits for working of miracles. Of course this is not unlike a Pastor, Evangelist, Teacher, Prophet, and/or the Christian.
Anyway, I had never really seen the correlation of the missionary and the Apostle until now. I now have a new appreciation for the missionary.
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