Mobilizing Five-Fold Ministry Teams to Orchestrate
a Worldwide Penetration of the Gospel.

The command of Jesus is to “go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mk. 16:15). While we are going, we are to make disciples of all the nations (Matt. 28:19-20). These commands and instructions cannot be ignored. Just accepting them as true is not enough. We must see them implemented. Jesus said, “… I will build my church…” (Matt.16:18). So, we know that the church is to be built, and that the church is to reach maturity. The question must be asked as to how will Christ’s church be built and how will it reach this maturity? Without question there are many facets necessary to see this happen, but what are the provisions given to us by Jesus that will enable the church to reach this goal of maturity in evangelism and discipleship?

Jesus has given gifts to His church that become the very spiritual enablement to accomplish this goal. The Holy Spirit revealed to the apostle Paul how this would occur. The important thing to realize is that we are not talking about organizations, methods, or programs. We are not talking about what people do in ministry, but who they are in ministry. Jesus is building His church through gifts deposited in His people.

He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him, who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by that which every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love. (Ephesians 4:11-16)

Notice the italicized phrases in these verses. The Holy Spirit revealed that Jesus had given gifts unto His church. These gifts were men and women who have been spiritually endowed with graces that were being measured out by Jesus himself. Thus, He gave some … for the equipping … until … certain things happen … which produce certain results. As you can see, there is a definite progression and dependency of each phrase upon the other. Each phrase represents a concept, doctrine, and teaching which must be understood. This is the only way in which the church can reach the purpose and goal that Jesus has in mind. It is not the methods of men that will accomplish what Jesus desires. He is destined to fill the church with Himself, tabernacle with men, and fill the earth with His glory. He is not filling the earth with religious and church activities, but with Himself.

Jesus said that He would build His church and then He ascended to heaven. Eph. 4:7-10 says that after He ascended that He gave gifts to men. These gifts are expressions of Jesus to His body. Through these gifts Jesus builds His church. This makes these gifts extremely important. They are more than just important because they are really the presence of Jesus being expressed to His church.

We must see these ministry gifts functioning in the most mature, competent, and effective manner. Why, because without them the church can never reach the maturity that Jesus wants for His church. These gifts must be identified and understood. The theological and practical truths of these gifts must be known. Then they must be implemented for the sake of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Each of these gifts is necessary for the maturity of the church. Without each of these ministries functioning, the church will never become what it should. Teams, expressing a complement of each gift, must be identified, trained, and released into ministry. Then these teams must be sent into the “fields which are white unto harvest.”

This program is designed to identify those with five-fold ministry calls on their lives, organize them into training activities, and orchestrate their being sent to the world. Each of us must touch our Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the uttermost ends of the earth.

If all the world is to be reached with the message of salvation through Jesus Christ, and if the church is to be filled full of the presence of God, and if the church is to grow into the full measure of the stature of Christ, each of the ministry gifts are necessary. They must be functioning and imparting the appropriate graces into the lives of each church member. If one or any of these five ministries are not functioning in the church than the church can never become what it is destined to be. Destiny is fulfilled as the Christ expresses Himself through these gifts to His body.

So, it is not enough to send evangelists to see people saved or send pastors to shepherd the local churches. It is not enough to send a generalist or a jack of all trades missionary to do all the work. Jesus has specifically and purposefully given gifts to His church to accomplish His task. The ministry gifts of the apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, and teacher are all imperative for the building of the church.

We must pray for the laborers to be called by our God. Then we must train these laborers and develop them in their respective ministry gifts. Next we must send them into the cities and villages of the world. Then we must watchfully give them oversight and care so that they can fulfill their ministry.

The vision is as follows. Send ministry teams into the nations with a full complement of each ministry gift. Such teams could be sent into any geographic area of any nation and could plant churches and schools for the reaching and discipling of that nation. These trained teams can also identify and train local five-fold ministry people in each of these nations. Since each ministry gift is essential, we as leaders must see that all these gifts are present and functioning for the proper growth of the body of Christ. We must pray, believe, train, send, and support such teams. Jesus said that He gave these gifts to build up His church, so we must see these ministries functioning at the greatest level of maturity.

How will these things happen?

1. Relationships must be established. Growing relationships have been established with over four thousand churches in over seventy nations.

2. Leaders of the churches must decide to be involved in implementing this training and sending effort for the five-fold ministry teams.

3. Each church must identify those who are functioning and called into the five-fold ministry. Three levels will be established.

     Level 1: Senior Elder, Set-Man, Senior Pastor

     Level 2: Functioning Elders

     Level 3: Functioning Five-Fold Ministries

     Level 4: Called Laborers in Need of Training for Team Preparation

4. Structured training must be implemented.

5. Teaching and training materials and procedures will be made available for the churches.

Now that the relationships of churches and men and women within those churches are being developed, it is time to focus, crystallize, train, and implement teams to plant churches in every nation of the world. Together, we can prepare men and women who are ready to serve and equip the servants of God in every nation on the earth. This task is great, that is why it has been called the “Great Commission.”

The question is not if we should fulfill the command of our Savior Jesus Christ. The question and the challenge becomes how to really accomplish such a task. How do we get this truth of world evangelization and discipleship out of the theological or theoretical into the practical? The greater question can even be how to we make such a task manageable?

We must have more five-fold ministry teams which are truly identified, really maturing, and effectively functioning in the local churches throughout the nations of the earth. Since Jesus has given these gifts we must pray that more and more people will respond to the call of Jesus and then faithfully fulfill this calling. We who know must walk worthy of our calling and obey the words of the Holy Spirit through the apostle Paul. “And the things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, these entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also” (2 Timothy 2:2).

We can do it! We can make it manageable! We can have thousands of laborers trained and ready to send to the nations! Respond today to this great challenge. God has not asked us to talk about it, but to do it!

by Dr. Sam Matthews

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