In the previous post, we explored the APEST model and why each function was critical to the health of a church. The apostle, prophet, evangelist, shepherd, and teacher are all individually and communally an integral part of being a vital church reflective of the fullness of Christ’s ministry. These five “functions” show up in Jesus’ Church through individuals so they can embody and practice them on behalf of Christ and the congregation. Without the presence of all five functions, the church is often unhealthy and in decline. As discussed in the previous blog, the APE’s (apostles, prophets, and evangelists) are first to leave the church and the imbalance commences.
Each function of APEST has its unique function and balances out the other functions. Without all five functions present, not only are some of the functions missing, but the balance for the still present functions do not have its counter balance due to the absence of the other functions. In his book, Positively Irritating, John Ritner offers his perspective on this critical need for balance by having all five functions represented in the church.
A church culture dominated by the apostolic function can become:
- Too task-oriented, leading to wounded people
- Too future-oriented, leading to confused people
- Too speed-oriented, leading to burned out people
A church culture dominated by the prophetic function can become:
- Too issue-oriented, leading to divided people
- Too spirit-oriented, leading to disembodied people
- Too action-oriented, leading to simplistic people
A church culture dominated by the evangelistic function can become:
- Too transaction-oriented, leading to disenchanted people
- Too positivity-oriented, leading to frustrated people
- Too inspiration-oriented, leading to disorganized people
A church culture dominated by the shepherding function can become:
- Too need-oriented, leading to co-dependent people
- Too safety-oriented, leading to fearful people
- Too harmony-oriented, leading to conflict-avoidant people
A church culture dominated by the teaching function can become:
- Too information-oriented, leading to prideful, puffed-up people
- Too consistency-oriented, leading to rigid people
- Too repetition-oriented, leading to complacent people
No one would want their church to be described as any of the statements above. This is why it is imperative that a balance of apostles, prophets, evangelists, teachers, and shepherds are present in all congregations and especially at all leadership tables. Take a look around your congregation. Is the fullness of the APEST functions present or does one of the statements above describe your congregation?