The other day, I had a conversation with a pastor who described the ministry that God has placed me in (that of praying, acting and making a difference) as "missional". I found that extremely odd as it is the mission that God has placed us all on. It was as though he felt that since he is a "pastor" of "a church" that he somehow should not have a "missional" approach. In our conversation, I spoke of the call that God in Christ has place on all of us to reach the lost, to preach the gospel, and also to minister to those already in Christ. I truly have a problem with "church models" that limit God and say, I only do this or that. Rather, I believe we should say, "God here am I, use me". God will help us to have the right balance to achieve His objectives in our lives.
After posting this on LinkedIn, I received the following response from a brother, who happens to be a pastor:
You're right Jim. Every believer should have a missional approach. Make no mistake though, the 5-fold ministry is placed by Jesus for the "equipping of the saints for the work of the ministry" So even though we all are to be missional we do have different functions in the body, and all are necessary.
I agree with him, in part. However, I do find it interesting how the "5 fold ministry" is used as an excuse by many to limit God in their lives. It's true that we will be more used in certain areas, but God will not push on us what we are not willing to do.
Ephesians 4:11 And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; 13 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.
It is clear from this scripture that all of these roles are to build up the body of Christ, to create unity in the faith, to equip the saints for the work of service and to mold us into mature men (and women) who walk in the fullness of Christ. Why then do so many limit themselves to one capacity or another, suggesting, "I am [only] a prophet", "I am [only] an evangelist", etc.
I say no! Let it not be. Let us walk in the fullness of Christ. Let us not limit God in our lives by saying, "I am [only] a pastor". Rather let us look at the exhortation from Ephesians 4 as an additive progression, never taking away from what we have grown up in, but rather adding to it.
Look at the disciples of Christ and Jesus Himself. Did they limit themselves to certain regions, or certain ministry callings? No, they lived the Great Commission, walked by the Spirit, took ground from the enemy and walked in the fullness of Christ. May we all do the same.
Does this mean that God will not give us one emphasis or another; will we at times be doing more preaching, more teaching, more evangelizing, etc. Will God gift some in one area more than in another area, sure, but let that not limit us to an "office", that we refuse to step out of or that we rigidly hold to, which limits God. Let us say, "here am I Lord, use me, in whatever capacity you want to use me".
The full discussion thread can be read here on facebook