What is APEST?
APOSTLES extend the gospel. As the “sent ones,” they ensure that the faith is transmitted from one context to another and from one generation to the next. They are always thinking about the future, bridging barriers, establishing the church in new contexts, developing leaders, networking trans-locally. Yes, if you focus solely on initiating new ideas and rapid expansion, you can leave people and organizations wounded. The shepherding and teaching functions are needed to ensure people are cared for rather than simply used.
PROPHETS know God's will. They are particularly attuned to God and his truth for today. They bring correction and challenge the dominant assumptions we inherit from the culture. They insist that the community obey what God has commanded. They question the status quo. Without the other types of leaders in place, prophets can become belligerent activists or, paradoxically, disengage from the imperfection of reality and become other-worldly.
EVANGELISTS recruit. These infectious communicators of the gospel message recruit others to the cause. They call for a personal response to God's redemption in Christ, and also draw believers to engage the wider mission, growing the church. Evangelists can be so focused on reaching those outside the church that maturing and strengthening those inside is neglected.
SHEPHERDS nurture and protect. Caregivers of the community, they focus on the protection and spiritual maturity of God's flock, cultivating a loving and spiritually mature network of relationships, making and developing disciples. Shepherds can value stability to the detriment of the mission. They may also foster an unhealthy dependence between the church and themselves.
TEACHERS understand and explain. Communicators of God's truth and wisdom, they help others remain biblically grounded to better discern God's will, guiding others toward wisdom, helping the community remain faithful to Christ's word, and constructing a transferable doctrine. Without the input of the other functions, teachers can fall into dogmatism or dry intellectualism. They may fail to see the personal or missional aspects of the church's ministry.
THE FOLLOWING WAS WRITTEN BY MISSIOLOGIST ALAN HIRSCH.
THIS AND OTHER CONTENT CAN BE FOUND AT HIS WEBSITE 5QCENTRAL.COM
Running In Your Lane
APEST IS AN ACRONYM THAT STANDS FOR "APOSTLES, PROPHETS, EVANGELISTS, SHEPHERDS, & TEACHERS."
It is a list that is lifted out of the fourth chapter of Paul's letter to the Ephesians. In this section, Paul says that each follower of Jesus is gifted, then gives these five types of giftings. Not every spiritual gift is part of this list, but every follower of Jesus has some sort of gifting in at least one of these five areas. Below is more info on each type of gifting, as well as more resources to help you discover your gifting and how to live in it.