Editor’s note: On behalf of the whole 5QCollective, we can’t tell you enough how grateful we are for you and the energy you are putting into building this 5Q movement! Like so many folks here in the South, my family and I have been pretty wiped out by Hurricane Harvey. Our prayers are with you and with all of those throughout the globe that are confronted by disaster beyond your control. You are close to our hearts and minds.
This week Jon Ritner, pastor of Ecclessia Hollywood, is guest posting again. His last post, Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep: How 5Q Can Revitalize Bedtime Prayer, continues to be highly viewed. We know you will enjoy this one as well.
When I was living in Brussels as a micro-church planter with my family, the Director of my kids’ French speaking school asked my wife and I to lead an after school English class for the 4th and 5th graders. We had a great time as a family picking what vocabulary to teach and my daughter, who was 9 at the time, served as our translator since her French far surpassed ours as adults. During that class, I discovered a teaching tool to help kids learn prepositions. It is a simple circle surrounded by all of the prepositions in their proper spatial relation to the circle itself. As a visual learner, this chart always resonated with me.
As I began to help disciples discern and celebrate the Ephesians 4 gifts as part of their own leadership 5Q, I struggled to find a way to illustrate the gifts and how they differentiated from each other. Recently, I remembered that circle and decided to design a similar image as a teaching tool. On coffee shop napkins or office whiteboards, I draw this image to represent the five-fold ministry of Jesus and His body. As I draw the diagram this is how I often explain it.
Draw a circle: The circle represents the church, the body of Christ in the world today called to flesh out the fullness of Christ’s presence. To do that, Ephesians 4 says our community is given special equipment, that is, the body is equipped with 5 gifts.
Three gifts live on the edges of the community and are outward facing to promote growth and expansion.
Draw the letter A on the front facing edge with arrows facing forward: Apostles are pioneers who love to move the Jesus movement forward. Their ministry is to extend and take new ground. They are risk takers and ground breakers who are often adaptive and innovative problem solvers. They grasp the DNA of the movement and are able to replicate that into others whom they send out as well.Apostles are pioneers who love to move the Jesus movement forward. #5Q Click To Tweet
Draw the letter P on the top edge with arrows facing up and down: Prophets help the community stay aligned to God. They are especially attuned to Holy Sprit’s leading and sensitive to God’s correction for the community. They challenge the dominant assumptions we inherit from the culture. They stand against injustice often set a high moral standard within the Body.
Draw the letter E on the left edge with rounded arrows, as if they are embracing or including from the outside in: Evangelists love inviting others into community. Their heart is to make the circle bigger by recruiting others to the cause. They are enthusiastic promoters and storytellers. They are the most likely to see those who are left out and welcome them in. They are infectious communicators of the gospel message and call for a personal response to the redemption of Christ.
The other two gifts live on the inside of the circle and are more inward facing to promote health and stability.
Draw the letter S in the middle with lines emanating from it like spokes in a wheel: Shepherds care for the health of the community. They nurture, support and promote unity. They are the glue that holds a diverse community together through compassionate care and encouragement. They seek to reconcile and reunite parts that naturally tend to divide.
Draw the letter T on the bottom with a long line underneath the circle: Teachers keep us biblically grounded. They understand God’s word and know how to explain it a way that impacts others. They are wise guides and enjoy resourcing the rest of the body. They help systematize our organizations and create traditions so we can leave a legacy for the next generation.
Ephesians 4 says the church will grow and mature as each of these parts does his or her work, not just when we gather the church on Sunday, but as the church body scatters out into each of the domains of society.The Church will grow and mature as it scatters out into each of the domains of society Click To Tweet
Then I ask some basic questions from the diagram to help them internalize it.
-Which of these gifts best represents the kind of work Jesus has been doing in your life recently?
-Which of these ministries is our local church really good at doing? Which ones do we need to do a better job of doing?
-Which of these ministry functions most resonates with you as an area you feel gifted to perform?
In my experience, this simple circle has helped people see what I am saying about the gifts from Ephesians 4 so that they can develop their own 5Q. Feel free to try it yourself.