DISCOVER YOUR APEST
By Jeremy Stephens
11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 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.
14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
Unpack the passage.
What are the cause and effect relationships seen here.
What are the five gifts for?
Why is Paul so motivated to speak about them here?
What happens if only a few gifts are allowed or validated according to this passage?
* Sociologist Max Weber coined the phrase, “the routinization of charisma”, to describe what happens as an organization fills the various roles now left vacant when the original charismatic leader is “removed” by death or other means. There is no single person who can fill the vacuum to provide the same level of expertise so roles are distributed throughout the movement or organization. In many ways it looks like Jesus has done this within his church. The original ministry of Jesus is given by Jesus to his people to continue.
Take a few minutes and look over the next two pages to learn a few basic attributes of the five gifts: Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Shepherd (pastor) and Teacher. Notice how each gift needs others to bring maturity to the body of Jesus.
As a group go through each gift and name people you think operate in that gift.
Generate as a group a few examples of how you’ve seen each gift operate in a healthy way.
Go around as a group and see if you can identify the two primary gifts of each person. (Remember technically because we have the Holy Spirit, God within, we have all five available to us, but understand that one or two may be dominant.)
APEST Aptitudes Permanent Revolution Alan Hirsch
Take a few minutes to look at the dangers of dominating gifts compiled by Alan Hirsch and the need for the partnership within a community of the gifts.
What gifts are dominant in your micro church? Which are more honored/less emphasized?
What would your micro church look like if it empowered all the gifts?
What needs to happen culturally and systemically to allow for and honor all the gifts in your micro church?
What if one dominates?
A/PEST: If an apostolic leader dominates, the church or other organization
will tend to be hard-driving, autocratic, with lots of pressure for change and development,
and will leave lots of wounded people in its wake.
It is not sustainable and will tend to dissolve with time.
P/AEST: If the prophetic leaders dominates, the organization
will be one-dimensional (always harking back to one or two issues),
will likely be factious and sectarian,
will have a “superspiritual” vibe, or, somewhat paradoxically, will tend to be either too activist to be sustainable or too quietist to be useful.
This is not a viable form of organization.
E/APST: When an evangelistic leader dominates, the organization
will have an obsession with numerical growth,
will create dependence on effervescent charismatic leadership, and
will tend to lack theological breadth and depth.
This type of organization will not empower many people.
S/APET: When pastoral leadership monopolizes, the church or other organization
will tend to be risk averse, codependent and needy, and overly lacking in healthy dissent and therefore creativity.
Such an organization will lack innovation and generativity and
will not be able to be transfer its core message and tasks from one generation to the next.
T/APES: When teachers and theologians rule, the church
will be ideological, controlling, moralistic, and somewhat uptight.
A rationalistic, doctrine-obsessed, Christian gnosticism (the idea that we are saved by what we know) will tend to replaces reliance on the Holy Spirit.
These types of organization will be exclusive based on ideology like that of the pharisees.