The Five Offices
November 1 2014
In Ephesians 4:11-14 Paul writes, “And he gave some apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ until we all attain to the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by craftiness, and deceitful schemes.”
The five-fold ministry he describes is here to equip us to be mature. We need maturity in the body of Christ. Somebody said, “It’s cute to see a baby sucking a bottle, but if you have to part the whiskers to get the bottle in, that’s freaky.”
I have a passion to help young leaders. I became the pastor of a church of about a thousand when I was thirty years old. I know what a person of thirty can do. But regardless of how young or old you are, you’re in need of growth and maturity.
That’s why God gave us the five-fold ministry. Jesus actually had all five offices. We don’t. But knowing what the offices are can help you know what God has for you to do.
The apostle is actually a spiritual father. In China, where I get to do some work, they have a saying. “Fellowship with all, partner with some, build on sons.” It’s a powerful principle, and it exposes the truth that we need sons in the faith, and to have sons, we need true fathers.
A true father exists to affirm. That’s the office of an apostle – to affirm. Paul’s words to Timothy, “My dear son,” shows so much of this heart to affirm his son. They weren’t even related, but Paul loved him as a son. We don’t have to have natural sons to perpetuate the ministry of Jesus Christ. Paul didn’t have any natural sons. He had spiritual sons.
There is a transfer of ministry going on right now from one generation to the other. That’s another reason why ARC is so important, because it is a part of the generational transfer from the generation that Pastor Brian Houston, Pastor Tom Mullins, myself, and others are in to the next generation. I understand that there are over 100,000 pastors in America that are going to transfer their ministry to the next generation in the next few years. It’s the largest transfer of leadership in the history of America.
It needs to happen more quickly for some people. I was with one brother recently who is seventy-two years old, and he will not turn loose. I have the honor of God using me to encourage people like this because I’ve done it. A few years ago, I transferred our church to my son and I’m submitted to my son as my pastor. You say, “That’s crazy.” No it isn’t. Everybody needs a pastor, and he has helped me already in many ways, so I really do honor him.
When I think about what fathering is really all about, I think about what Jesus experienced in the waters of baptism. The Father said to him, “You are My Son.” That is identity.
“Whom I love.” That is validity.
“In Whom I am well pleased.” That is affirmation. “I’m proud of you, son.”
Maybe you’ve never heard those words, “I’m proud of you, son.” There’s such a spirit of rejection in the world today. It’s largely a fatherless generation. Many of you had dads, but they were absent, abusive, or anonymous.
You need a father – not to control you. This is a heart thing. Your father has to love you, and you’ve got to find some men that have an apostolic fathering anointing. Much of the dysfunction of the Church today is because there isn’t enough of this kind of fathering.
You need a father who will affirm you. If you don’t have one or two or three, make that a priority. It’s the best thing you can do for yourself.
November 1 2014