Leading the Church

So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 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.

Ephesians 4:11-13

In the Church, Christ has released five different leadership anointing (sometimes called the five-fold ministry gifts)–apostolic, prophetic, evangelistic, pastoral, and teaching. These anointings are found throughout the church in many different people but are sometimes solidified into leadership roles or staff positions when the community recognizes a strong anointing and calling on a person’s life. Each of these anointings cause a person to lead the church in slightly different ways and create a slightly different culture for the church body. Let’s briefly look at each one:

The primary question for the apostolic person is, “What is God doing?” Sunday Worship is about giving God total devotion and experiencing a divine encounter. Apostolic people are often given blueprints or strategy from the Lord for an entire organization. They are risk-takers who want to gain ground for the Kingdom of God.

The primary question for the prophetic person is, “What is God saying?” Sunday Worship is about giving God the praise that is due Him and experiencing God’s Presence. Prophetic people often support the apostolic and are given insight into the future of an organization and trends that are coming next.

The primary question for the teacher is, “What truth needs to be taught?” Sunday Worship is about teaching biblical truth from the scriptures and the discipleship of the believer. Teachers tend to make complicated theology or paradoxical truth more easily understandable for everyone. Because of this they are often the “translators” standing between the apostolic/prophetic people and the pastoral/evangelistic people.

The primary question for the pastoral person is, “What do our current people need, especially those who are hurting?” Sunday Worship is about people feeling welcomed, cared for, and connected to community. Pastoral leaders tend to lean into compassion, empathy, and mercy. Their focus is often the hurting and vulnerable.

The primary question for the evangelistic person is, “What does the outsider/new person need?” Sunday Worship is all about the new person, the guest, the person who has been far from church and/or far from God. Evangelistic leaders want to see people give their life to Jesus for the first time and want everything in the church to be geared toward that goal. They tend to be Christians who don’t like church very much or remember vividly what it was like to avoid Christians in their pre-Christian life.

As you can see, depending on who is leading a church and what leadership anointing they may have, the church will take on a slightly different culture. Below is an example of the difference between a church with an apostolic culture verses a church with a pastoral culture.

Pastoral church

Primary Focus: connecting in community

Secondary Focus: healing emotional wounds

Leaders: led by Pastors and pastoral people

Mission: care for the believers 

Discipleship Emphasis: emphasizes slow processes of development over time

People’s Involvement: the people either consume or pastor

View of Church: church is a hospital for the wounded

Leadership Mode: pastoring is the main expression of the church (evangelism feels too pushy and not relational enough, teaching sometimes feels irrelevant, prophetic feels too weird and supernatural, apostolic feels too authoritative and risky) 

Apostolic church

Primary Focus: create Kingdom culture

Secondary Focus: a Kingdom environment (presence of God, supernatural activity)

Leaders: led by apostolic people in the context of the 5-fold ministry gifts (apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, teacher) 

Mission: taking ground for the Kingdom

Discipleship Emphasis: emphasizes transformation through divine encounter (healing, deliverance, social change, salvation)

People’s Involvement: the people produce or are sent out

View of Church: church is an army sent to reclaim what belongs to the Lord

Leadership Mode: evangelism, teaching, pastoring and the prophetic are all pieces that contribute to the whole but they function under the authority of the apostolic. God’s supernatural presence and activity are paramount above all else.