Jesus bestowed five aspects of His kingdom leadership strategy upon the Ecclesia at the time of His Ascension. These leadership dynamics were present in His own earthly ministry, and they remain His modus operandi right now. That is, Jesus still functions as Head of the Body and King of kings in the full function of Apostle, Prophet, Teacher, Evangel, and Shepherd. He bestowed these five aspects of His kingdom leadership upon the Ecclesia to represent the way He leads His kingdom on earth.
The highest expression of the King on earth comes through the full function of five-fold ministry. Without it, or to the extent it lacks fullness, we limit the fullest expression of the function of His leadership. The best way to make Jesus Head of the Church is to have the fullness of the fivefold ministry functioning.
This measure of the fullness of the fivefold can be seen in the outcomes that these leadership dynamics produce:
“He’s the One who bestowed some to be apostles, prophets, evangelists, and shepherds and teachers, to prepare and position God’s people for the serving works, so that Christ’s Body may be built up, until we all achieve unity in the faith and in the knowledge of God’s Son and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of Christ’s fullness. Then we will no longer be infants, flopping about as if riding the waves, fluttering about as if by wind currents of teaching and by the scheming manipulation of men in their deceitful agendas. In contrast to that, we instead speak the truth in love and we will in all aspects grow up into an expression of Him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From Him the whole body, joined and held together by every ligament-joint, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” [Ephesian 4]
The fivefold ministry produces maturity, unity of belief, awareness of Jesus, and an ever-increasing momentum of fuller expression of the Anointed One. The fivefold ministry weeds out human schemes to turn the Ecclesia into something other than what the Head designed it to be. The fivefold ministry injects loving Truth into the systems of the Body so that it arrives at the extremities through full circulation, so every part is supplied because it is united at the joints, and every part of the Body receives the same circulated DNA, working as it was designed so the Body functions as Jesus designed it to function. End point: the Body does what Jesus wants done and represents Him in the earth.
This Scripture makes it clear that Jesus bestowed the five aspects of kingdom leadership upon the Ecclesia to produce this outcome and kingdom norm. Wherever we observe something that falls short of this – and we all certainly do see the Ecclesia in this diminished condition! – we should consider how these aspects of kingdom leadership are not fully functional or the Body basic systems are dysfunctional.
It does little good to trim your fingers nails if the problem is poor circulation.
Some of our efforts to fix the deficiencies look like taking an aspirin for an earthquake. That is how far we have moved from Biblical norms! Jesus is constantly and consistently at work to restore this norm, of course, with infinite mercy and patience seeking the restoration of all. He accomplishes everything through the Ecclesia, so the level of kingdom we experience and the world experiences is measured by the maturity of the Ecclesia, the measurement of the Ecclesia’s maturity measured by the maturity of the fivefold leadership functions.
Created, Called, Charismatically Gifted, but Confused
Spiritual confusion produces immaturity. The Body is as collectively mature as the fivefold leadership is. The leadership can only prepare and produce through shared spiritual experience, and infantile leadership will produce infantile preparation and positioning. The Body will continue to suck its thumb and crave a nipple if the leadership remains in diapers, crawling around, and putting everything it finds on the floor in its mouth!
All the fivefold ministry leaders are created to be what they are called to do, gifted with grace capacities consistent with their created dispositions and leadership callings. If they are not fully functioning in this creation calling and gifting, they are spiritual immature, by definition. In reality, very little has ever been done to produce fivefold leadership at a mature level because the functions are seldom the focus being overshadowed by the titles. The immaturity of the individual leaders plays directly plays into the immaturity of the fivefold leadership as a whole, so that the Body suffers from crippling immaturity. Consider this, for example: an apostolic and prophetically founded leadership will include the other three aspects of Christ’s ministry functioning to prepare and position members to do what they do, not do it themselves. In other words, mature fivefold leaders aren’t doing the shepherding, teaching, evangelizing as much as they are preparing and positioning others to do it. Or, we could say it like this: a fivefold teacher is equipping teachers to teach in the mature sense of what “teaching” means in the design of Christ.
Consider then, that this means an international level of spiritual power and authority would be available at the local and personal level to every member of Christ’s Body, that a spiritual unity of belief would displace unbelief, that a measurable maturity would occur in the entire Body as an expression of the maturity of the leaders preparing and positioning the members.
And, our definition of success wouldn’t be that we finally have examples of spotlighted international supersaints and spiritual X-men; rather we would see a level of maturity because their fully functioning leadership at the local and personal levels as expressions of how their leadership circulates to the extremities.
As Paul says, the members we father would be the measure of the maturity of our leadership.