SUNDAY, JUNE 24, 2012.
THE FIVE-FOLD MINISTRY
PAUL’S letter to the Ephesians was meant to encourage on the implication of being in the body of Christ, having unity in commitment to Christ and using spiritual gifts in building up of the body of Jesus – the Church.
Apostle Paul had rested the issue of spiritual gifts in his first letter to the Corinthians (I Cor. 12) when he noted that to every believer is given spiritual gift by the same spirit. It is given for edification and for the building up of the body of Christ. Therefore, whether one is more endowed or less endowed is not the issue but all should use their gifts to the glory of God.
It was the desire of Paul that they should acquire these gifts and in turn use them to build up one another and the Church. Interestingly, these gifts were not offices occupied by people but graces.
The five-fold ministry has become an essential ingredient in the life and ministry of a minister of God. The theological and ministerial training is geared toward making a minister reactivate the five elements to enable him function properly in the Church of God.
It is true that some are not roundly endowed to capture these five-fold ministries, yet it is thrust upon them so to do for the sake of the flock. There is no gainsaying that ministers with these five elements perform so well on the mission field where those who are less endowed struggle. It is in the best interest of the Church for a minister to exercise the five-fold ministry.
At the ordination of ministers, they are usually charged publicly in respect to the five-fold ministry: ‘Do your prophetic ministry, do the work of an evangelist, exercise your apostolic ministry, shepherd the flock and you must be apt to teach’.
As ministers move from place to place and serve in different congregations, it is expected that this five-fold ministry will be evident in their work.
Their congregations may be the better judges whether all these gifts are at work or not.
Suffice it to say that sometimes some congregations are growing, while some are not. This situation may be traceable to gifts at work in the life of a minister in a given church. A self-styled minister or one who has called himself and is not accountable to anybody or any authority might not bother whether these gifts are exhibited or not especially if he is driven economically or materially.
A minister who is worth his salt should strive to acquire the five-fold ministry in order to bless himself and bless his church and exercise such gifts for building the body of Christ.VEN. ERNEST ONUOHA Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical Retreat Centre, Agbarha-Otor, Delta State.