"The Market Place"
I am called as a trans-local prophet, meaning that God can call me to different areas for ministry. But I am quick to tell the young prophets that God has entrusted me to raise up to some measure, that it did not start off that way. I tell them that until I could prove myself in the local church as a functioning member, I could not grow up beyond that place and into my calling.
When I was honored to be invited on the ďMeet the PastorĒ television program here in Houston with Brother Donald Orand in 1996 (I am not a pastor), I was able to explain visually what I am about to share here.
The five fold ministry is like a hand. Many of you have heard this, but the apostle is like the thumb on the hand. It is able to work well with the other five fold ministers (fingers) and is able in many ways. The apostle has the ability to lay groundwork and establish.
The index finger is likened unto the prophet, because the prophet points out error and points the direction, not directing, but pointing.
The long middle finger is likened to the evangelist, because the evangelist reaches out extending, calling others to come into the Body.
The pastor is symbolized by the ring finger, one who is married to the flock, loving and cherishing it, keeping up with and concerned about the day to day aspects of their flock. (Personally I am more touched and impressed by the pastorís gift than any of the others.)
The little finger is teacher, the one who is picky on details. You know a teacher because they will make a concerned big deal over all the little nuances, and they use the Amplified Bible, unless there is not one to be had. The teacher is valuable because it is important in God to be grounded in the Word. They are necessary along with the other five fold ministry gifts by Godís manifold design. The five fold gifts of teacher have often not been seen in their true ministry role, it was brought out to me by one who is a teacher. But as a prophet, I can understand that. They are not often honored according to their office roles.
Some prophets are local and some are trans-local. There are some people who are called to certain flocks or churches, and the pastor can count on them to bring in timely words and concerns.
The prophet does not take over the pastorís role, but assists in it. There needs to mutual respect for this authority but it must be properly understood before it can be received. And there is not just one prophet in the body, but often several, and this concept expands to the bigger picture.
Most of the local prophets in the body abide in the body without making a big fuss. They are just there, and are loved for their straightforwardness and concerns for righteousness. They bring conviction, as well as generousity, in the area of grace.
But God also raises up trans-local five fold ministry as leaders and examples for the Body of Christ at large and they have key roles to play. All of the five fold ministry is a God ordained ministerial servant called ministry. They have an anointing (and responsibility before God and man) for their ministry.
Now to further my important illustration, it must be seen that the five fold ministry comes up out of the Body of Christ. If you look at the hand, you will see that the fingers and thumb come out of the palm of the hand. In other words, they are raised up from the local Body in the Church. Even Jesus did not attempt to come to us outside of the local fellowship.
But I also must warn in saying that Jesus spoke harshly to the religious leaders who put bondages on the people and would not free and equip the people for His service. The people have valid Spiritual gifts to offer--it is not just a control program and entertainment by pastors for critiques and ratings. And these are things that prophets are still called to warn about, by Godís divine directive.
Some prophets may warn better than others, but itís not easy trying to convince someone that they are wrong.... Selah! And itís not always fun, either! The persecution is real. But the joy of the Gospel is His Amazing Grace. The rewards come later.
Now letís go back to the illustration. The palm of the hand is connected to the wrist of the hand and the arm. The Body of Christ is the Hand of the Lord, and His outstretched Arm. The arm is connected to the chest where the Heart resides and is governed by the Head, who is Jesus.
People have the tendency to like people who are like themselves. Many of the other gifts of ministry have felt abandoned or neglected because the pastor draws in those who are like him and resists the other five fold ministry gifts.
Like Paul with Timothy, ministers will draw in those with like hearts whom they can trust, especially in their absence. Not everyone is called to five fold ministry, but many carry ďanointingsĒ or tendencies and inclinations toward certain gifts of the five fold ministry and these are support people. They are associate pastors, people who support evangelism, wash the hands of the prophets, even providing rooms if need be, set up conferences and support and supply the needs for the missionaries who are sent out to establish churches.
Are you getting the picture? While we may not have understood their titles, they have been there, but God is growing us up into mature understanding based on His Word.
Now I have prefaced it that way to say that there will be times when it seems that you have your act together. The prophets seem happy because you are leading the people in righteousness and God is blessing the Church with numbers and prosperity, and missionaries are going out establishing new territories. This is the way it is meant to be!
But the work is not done. As Christians we are called to impact society, not just standing out apart from it, but making it function. We are to be more than a "personal religious persuasion." We are about right and wrong and justice and knowing God!
Today there are a lot of people rejoicing in the church, but society is suffering. And itís not just in the area of physical needs, food and clothing, but the market place is sick!
It is time to call the people into righteous and honest living in the workplace, equipping them with the spiritual gifts and moral support to come against the enemyís forces against them and the defenseless. Until you do this, with the goodness of God in the Spiritual Kingdom of God taking dominion in the market place, your job is not yet done.
God bless you! He is worthy of our praise.