I was chatting the other day with the pastoral leadership of a local church. It was a very encouraging evening. They are captured with a vision to see the five ministries: Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors, and Teachers, in partnership in the local church. The reason for our meeting was to discuss Evangelists and how we fit in. I don’t get asked this question much, in fact much of my conversation with other Evangelists revolve around how it seems we don’t fit in with the local church. Most of us in frustration have gone ‘para-church’ or have left the arena of ministry altogether. Now, I recognize that we are generally not the easiest people to get along with. Often our back stories are filled with pain and rejection before we met Jesus in a life changing way. We bring all that baggage with us into our evangelism. So I say to my pastoral friends that just because we may be a challenging lot ought not to exclude us from a place at the leadership ‘table’ in the local church. We need each other!
This vision of an APEPT (see the fivefold gifts listed above) leadership team is exciting. With each gift represented and working together in a collaborative way under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. I picture a group where it is safe to have a ‘holy row’, where each person passionately advocates for their vision. St. Paul says of us “ … we see in part…” so as we each share our vision a clearer understanding of the vision God is giving His church comes into focus.
For too long the vision of the institutional church has been myopic because other perspectives are not given place at an egalitarian table! I have found this terribly frustrating over the years and it was good to sit with some pastors and honestly tell them that. I got signals of real understanding and of repentance and a determination to forge a new way. At Up Town we acknowledge that we are all ‘broken people’ and I am keenly aware that we need pastoral gifts as we seek together to find wholeness and we do have people on team with those gifts and have formed partnerships with others who have them as well. I have, very reluctantly, been growing in this pastoral stuff myself!
That we need each other is clear! One of my friends that night quoted the verse “Come let us discuss this (reason) together.” I agree that a way ahead is to begin talking to one another about this but more than that to listen to one another.