God gives us leaders to follow.
While no human leader is perfect, we should consider ourselves blessed to have godly leaders charting our path. If a minister is following Christ, it shouldn’t be a struggle to follow the one at the front of the pack heading in a Godward direction.
11 And he himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, to build up the body of Christ, 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of God’s Son, growing into maturity with a staturemeasured by Christ’s fullness.Ephesians 4:11-13
In this passage, Paul gives differing terms for specific types of leadership. First, he mentioned “apostles.” In the early church, only those original disciples Jesus had sent out were labeled as such. These “sent out ones” boldly spread the mission to new people and places.
Second, he included “prophets,” who took the Word of God and proclaimed it in a way that required a response. We often think of prophets as those who told the future, but they were honestly those who told the truth.
Third, Paul mentioned “evangelists.” These people were those who effectively shared the gospel. As they shared the good news of Jesus, people responded.
Finally, Paul included “pastors and teachers.” While some think this to be two different offices, Paul only had one article before this phrase, indicating that it was one role but described from two angles. These shepherds lead and guide a local church with the truth of God’s Word.
When you consider these four different types of leaders, you might recognize how God has used those types of people in your own spiritual development. You may have had the gift of knowing all of the above and benefited from a visionary trailblazer, bold truthteller, unashamed witness, and steady shepherd.
If such leaders have blessed you, how should you respond?
- First, thank God for a gift of such an example.
- Second, pray that God continues to grow them in their callings.
- Third, follow their biblical instructions so that you can be fully equipped to do the ministry that God has called you to do (Eph. 4:12) and that these leaders are investing in you to see the transformation.