The sermon at our church this past Sunday was on the Fivefold Ministry Gifts. The pastor used Acts 11:19-30 and Ephesians 4:11-13 as his texts. This was nothing new, but just for the sake of writing it out, and as a reminder, I thought I'd put some thoughts down here.
Here is a list of the Fivefold Ministry Gifts and their characteristics (that our pastor shared):
Apostles - big picture visionaries, start new things, risk taker, futuristic, adventurous.
Prophets - sensitive to God's voice(?), prayerful, often see things in symbols/pictures.
Evangelists - love meeting new people, bold, persuasive, energetic.
Pastors - support people, shepherding, caring, patient, encourager.
Teachers - instructing others, protecting biblical doctrine, study, helping learners.
He also discussed the difference between Pioneers and Settlers. Pioneers are usually apostles, evangelists, and prophets. Settlers are usually pastors, teachers, and also prophets (prophets are hard to categorize).
We ended with the pastor giving us some insights into determining which of the fivefold gifts fit us. He said to ask these questions?
- Which fills you and doesn't drain you
- Which do you feel good at
- Which do you feel most passionate about
- Take a spiritual assessment survey
- What do those closest to you think
I probably didn't do a very good job of taking notes - I was using my phone - but some of those descriptions seem a little off to me. I must have missed some things. Anyway, I am pretty sure I fall into the Apostle and Prophet category. I always have. Prophetic because I have a strong sense of loyalty to God's Word and Truth; Apostolic because I tend to have a big-picture view and I see a need to fit things together or work things out in a big-picture way. This isn't really reflected in the definitions listed, but based on what the speaker was sharing it was the first time I've really noticed how beneficial it is for me to be fairly evenly split between the two. They should kind of balance each other out a little; plus the fact that I run pretty closely between the two on tests and whatnot. So it was somewhat helpful.
I'm not at all sure how my gifts could ever contribute to the church community we are presently trying to be part of, but I suppose there are ways I can operate/use my gifts for the Church at large.
Some thoughts I have as I write this out...
Teaching and Pastoring are probably - and have probably always been - two of my weakest areas. So it's interesting that I spent 14 years as a small-church pastor. On the one hand, I used to feel like I was a good fit as a small-church pastor - because my gifts are spread pretty wide. However, as I thought about it this morning, I can see where I was a really terrible pastor. The difficult thing for me is to remember that just because I do not have pastoral gifts doesn't mean I'm a terrible person. It just seems like that.
I also think my burnout can be attributed to the fact that I had to operate outside my gifting for so long. I was spread too thin, and simply drained myself dry.
I actually used to think I was a fairly good pastor at one time. Even after leaving the church, I was kind of waiting for someone to ask me to take another church, or suggest that I should. But no one has. So that's kind of telling. Again, it shouldn't be a bad thing - it is not for everyone - but it's a bit sobering to think of how long I did it and thought I was doing okay... I suppose I was rather clueless.
Anyway, I guess it is what it is, and I am what I am. Leaning apostolic and prophetic was not my idea, and I don't enjoy being someone seen by others as unhappy and never-satisfied, but I guess pleasing others is not really what matters.
Life is long. And strange. Today is a new day.