WHAT IS APEST?
Over the last few years, an emphasis has been placed on the Five-Fold gift of Christ (or the acronym APEST) listed in Ephesians chapter 4. It says:
…Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and the teachers to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. (Eph. 4:11-13)
I use these 5 gifts (separate from the other gifts because they are the “gift” of Christ) as a way to identify and activate others to work effectively as the Church. Each aspect of Christ brings a valuable component to the Ecclesiological table:
- Apostles (lit. “sent ones” for the Kingdom)
- Prophets (Kingdom hearers and heralds)
- Evangelists (recruiters for the Kingdom)
- Shepherds (Kingdom caretakers)
- Teachers (Doctrine keepers for the Kingdom)
Each aspect is necessary for Christ’s Bride to thrive as she accomplishes the mission set before her by King Jesus. Representation of all 5 aspects diversifies a leadership team and allows a divine “checks and balances” to occur amongst the body of Christ; this creates synergy between pioneering into new territory for the Kingdom and cultivating Jesus’ followers into “maturity.”
Each role complements the other but there will be tension just as you see with any collaborating team. The struggle is worth it though because utilizing one or two over the others creates an imbalance in local church expressions. In fact, I think denominations are largely a result of imbalances in these 5 areas. For example, hyper-charismatic churches are overly prophetic/apostolic driven, doctrine hammering churches are led by unchecked teachers, and evangelists make just leave to start non-profits and mission organizations. It would be humorous if it wasn’t so divisive. Furthermore, the purpose of each one is not to be the representation of their role on behalf of the church. The purpose is to equip everyone else to become better at each one in order to build the “saints” up into the fullness of Christ who possessed all five!
If you want to learn more about APEST, I spoke on Eph. 4:1-16 here (Click on the Sept. 10, 2017 sermon) and created a PDF handout with a little more information.
Which one are you and how do you develop the use of the five-fold ministry in your organization? You can dig further with these resources. Each have similarly defined the roles but added a personal twist and all of them have influenced my use of the “APEST” model for ministry. Check them out:
 Breen, M. (2017). Building a discipling culture: How to release a missional movement by discipling people like Jesus did. Pawleys Island, SC: 3 Dimension Ministries.