Today’s post is an excerpt from Alan’s new book, 5Q: Activating the Original Intelligence and Capacity of the Body of Christ, and an exciting look at a new video and exercise from the new 5Q Training. We are so excited to share what’s new with you! In the meantime, before everything is ready for release, enjoy this introduction and stay ready for more!
Just as the human body is made up of numerous interdependent and interrelated functions (cardiovascular, nervous, digestive, etc.), so too the Body of Christ needs all five APEST capacities in order to be truly functional. Anything less than five functions operating interdependently must inevitably lead to system fatigue and dysfunction. Or, to change the metaphor slightly, think of a motor vehicle operating on less than all its cylinders. If it’s not operating according to design specification, then it will be an ineffective vehicle that will eventually fail.
A church that is not operating on all five APEST “cylinders” is to that degree significantly disabled as a body, and God’s purposes through it are frustrated if not outright opposed. Deficiencies and imbalances in the fivefold system damage the entire system.[bctt tweet=”A church that is not operating on all five APEST “cylinders” is to that degree significantly disabled as a body, and God’s purposes through it are frustrated if not outright opposed. ” username=”@5QCollective”]
When the church is referred to as a body, it immediately evokes the idea of systemic interconnectivity. In the same way that body parts cannot exist independently of the body itself, so too church function and individual vocation are inextricably related to each other. To remove one is to undermine all the others. We need all five to mature.
So for example, we can say that every church is called to the ongoing task of evangelism; however, in a particular church some are actually called and identified as evangelists.
The specific role of that evangelist expresses one of the functions, and therefore one of the important purposes, given to the church by Jesus. The function precedes, and provides the implicit platform for, the individual callings and expressions. In other words, the callings presuppose and make explicit the functions already given to the Body (implicit) by the ascending Lord.
Therefore, whatever one thinks of various APEST individuals being called apostles, prophets, teachers, etc., it is just about impossible to separate the implicit APEST functions out from the New Testament understanding of the church itself without the whole thing unraveling.
Even if one might be cessationist in terms of individual callings, it’s not possible to be cessationist in terms of the organizational functions and still claim to be biblical. Who can debate that each APEST function is still given to all of God’s people in every time and place and as a whole? Who would doubt the ongoing validity of these? Why would we even want to? Is not the whole church called to be apostolic (missional), prophetic, evangelistic, and so on? It would be foolish to deny that these remain the core purposes of all churches in every context. For instance, even people who deny the personal role of the apostle see apostolicity as one of the universal marks of the church—the church is said to be one, holy, catholic, and apostolic.[bctt tweet=”Without a deep sense of the evangelistic purpose the church would not feel itself obliged to proclaim good news in a bad-news world. #5Q” username=”@5QCollective”]
To drive the point home in relation to all the fivefold functions, we can say that without the apostolic function we would undercut the missionary purposes of the church in every age and context; deprived of the prophetic function the church would fail in its obligation to stand against unfaithfulness, unrighteousness, and injustice wherever these are found; without a deep sense of the evangelistic purpose the church would not feel itself obliged to proclaim good news in a bad-news world; without its community-building capacities (S) the church would not even exist as a viable entity in society; without the pedagogic functions (T) we would lack appropriate knowledge and wisdom, and so would be quickly lost or become dangerous fanatics. Because it is the Body of Christ—the literal embodiment of Jesus in the world—the church itself is always called to be missional, prophetic, evangelistic, pastoral, and wise.
After watching this video, we invite you to engage this exercise to journey deeper into the 5Q worldview. Grab a journal and a pen and let’s get going.
What struck you about what you heard? Did anything make your grab at your heart? Your imagination?[bctt tweet=”This week, @5QCollective are offering a preview of the great things to come from @alanhirsch and the #5Q team. Check out a new video and free training exercise. ” username=””]
This Week’s Exercise:
We all hold a particular view or understanding of what “church” is, gained from history and our personal experience with church. Those experiences have taught us that ‘this is what church is’ or ‘what church should be’. So to study a text that critiques and possibly illuminates a new way of thinking may evoke a host of emotions, questions and responses. Do a quick check on your internal world. What is bubbling up for you in response to this week’s post and video? What have been your experiences of church and how has this shaped your mindset & beliefs? What two things do you want to do to move forward?
Take some time and journal your responses.
We’d love to hear your response and reflections from today’s exercise. Let us know what you are discovering – in the comments.