UNLEASH YOUR SUPERPOWERS
Did you know that each one of us has been uniquely gifted by Christ with a ministry "superpower"? In this post we're going to explore the five ministry superpowers of APEST: Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Shepherd, and Teacher. Each one of these five superpowers helps us live out the ministry of Christ in every part of our life.
Know Your Superpower!
You might be wondering, "Why should I care about these five APEST giftings?" Well, imagine you have superpowers, like an ability to create something out of nothing. Or the the ability to recognize when someting is about to go wrong. Totally awesome, right? Wouldn't you want to use those powers to their fullest potential? Of course, you would!
Just like superheroes have different superpowers, each one of us has unique giftings for ministry. Knowing your primary gifting is like unlocking your very own superpower for ministry. It's all about understanding how Christ has uniquely shaped you to participate with him in ministry. Let's take a quick look at each of these five superpowers and what they do.
The Apostle: “One who is sent and scales”
The word apostle literally means “separate and send.” Apostles continue the ministry of Christ by participating in his work of either starting new expressions of the church or scaling existing churches into new contexts.
Apostles are entrepreneurs who have a natural desire and ability to pioneer new ventures. They are cultural architects who are drawn to issues related to organizational design, systems, and structure.
They intuitively recognize leadership capacity in others and tend to develop leadership training systems that are reproducible. Overall, they have a missional focus to their ministry — they want to see more people and places impacted for the kingdom.
Apostles are kind of like the Tony Stark of Marvel Comics Iron Man (but without the ego, please!). They envision things from start to finish, initiate the first expression, and establishing the systems to sustainably scale it out.
The Prophet: “One who reveals and reforms”
The word prophet literally means “speak before.” Prophets continue the ministry of Christ by participating in his work of either revealing who God is or reforming communities around his heart. Prophets want to see the presence and power of God revealed in every situation.
They are quick to recognize the gap between “what is” and “what should be.” In fact, they often host that tension within their own bodies. They have an allergic reaction to hypocrisy and often pull back from groups that say one thing but do another.
The prophet is kind of like the superhero Jean Grey of the X-Men who can "sense" and "see" things that others can't - except prophets.
The Evangelist: “One who promotes and persuades”
The word evangelist literally means “messenger of good.” Evangelists continue the ministry of Christ by participating in his work of either promoting good news of the kingdom or persuading people to respond to good news in contagious ways.
While apostles are organizational entrepreneurs, evangelists are relational entrepreneurs. They do their best work when building on an already existing foundation. They are natural storytellers and will promote almost anything — if they believe in it. They are the eternal optimists who see the potential for good in everything.
Evangelists never meet a stranger. They enjoy meeting new people and inviting them into new opportunities. They are drawn to first time encounters with people outside the group and have a sense for what could potentially make that encounter go bad. Overall, evangelists have an inclusive quality to their ministry — they want to see more “outsiders” become insiders.
The evangelist is like The Torch in the fantastic four who can start rapidly spreading "fires" and easily "fly" to any place or person on a whim.
The Shepherd: “One who protects and provides”
The word shepherd literally means “protect.” Shepherds continue the ministry of Christ by participating in his work of protecting people from harm and providing for their needs. The heart of a shepherd is to protect people from both internal and external threats of danger. They notice when people are missing from the group and are naturally concerned about where they are and what kind of danger they might be in.
Shepherds will remain loyal to a group for a long time, giving sacrificially of their time and money to make sure it stays up and running. They sense when people in the group are hurting and have a natural desire to nurture them back to health. Overall, shepherds have a communal focus to their ministry — they want people and the group to receive more investment in relationship and resources.
The shepherd is like the Invisible Woman - Susan Storm - in the Fantastic Four who generates protective forcefields to shield people from harm, often sacrificially absorbing the force of attacks in her own body.
The Teacher: “One who explains and trains”
The word teacher literally means “to separate and point out.” Teachers continue the ministry of Christ by participating in his work of either explaining truth or training people how to live it out. They take topics and tasks and break them down into smaller parts, showing us what they mean and how they work.
They have a natural love for wisdom and knowledge and find great pleasure when they can help others either come to know what they know or do what they do. Teachers are mostly drawn to already existing information like history, best practices, or training materials. Overall, they have an instructional focus to their ministry — they want people to have more insight into revelation and reality.
The Teacher is like the superhero Captain Atom who can take complex things and break them down into their essential parts, helping people to see what they are made of, and how they can be used to solve problems.
For a cool, short, one page table that outlines the definitions and practical implications of these five APEST giftings, click here.
Discover Your Superhero Identity!
So, why is it vital to know your APEST gifting? It's like discovering your unique superhero identity! When you understand how you're uniquely gifted for ministry, you can embrace your strengths and use them to serve others. Imagine a team of diverse superheroes, each embracing their gifting and working together to change the world. That's the power of knowing your ministry gifting!
At OneLife, we spend a good amount of time helping one another discover our APEST giftings, and how to develop them in every part of our lives. If you would like to go on an epic journey of discovering your unique giftings, drop us a line!
Remember, you are uniquely gifted for ministry. Embrace your superpowers, and let Christ work in and through you in amazing ways.