This is #23 in a series of blogs by PJ on the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. We now turn to the five ‘people’ gifts mentioned in Ephesians 4. This blog makes some introductory comments about these five gifts.
"It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s 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" (Eph 4:11-13).
We call these ‘people gifts’. These gifts refer to people who have the gift in such a significant way that it is not an exaggeration to say that they personify or embody the gift – they are the gift. There are five gifts, or four if you combine pastor and teacher.
What is their function?
Paul says that they function to prepare God’s people for effectiveness and maturity. They do this by (a) doing their gift themselves, and (b) training others to do their gift. For example, and evangelist will actually preach and win souls himself, but also equip the saints to be evangelistic.
If a church is going to mature into all that it should be, then that church needs regular exposure to all of these five gifts. Sometimes a church is fortunate enough to have one of more of the gifts resident in the church (hopefully a pastor/teacher at least!), but where there is lack then they need to invite the other gifts into the church from time to time.
How do I know if I am one of these gifts?
Remember, these gifts are very mature expressions of each gift, and so it takes a while to grow into being one of them. And, they are not for everybody. Whilst everyone is encouraged to prophecy, only some will be genuinely prophetic, and fewer still will end up as prophets. The important thing is that your gift will be recognized by other senior leaders, so you just need to keep being yourself and faithfully serving the church with your gifts, and if God wants to promote you to the office of an apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor or teacher then relax….The Holy Spirit will organize for others to spot you and honour the gift of God in you.