Like we introduced last week, the 5Q team really does want to know what would be helpful to you! We would love nothing more than to resource your team by answering your questions here on the blog. Also, if you have a suggestion for a future blog post, that the team can address here, then please don’t hesitate to let us know. We can’t promise to use every idea, but we’ll do our best! Chances are…if you are thinking about it, others are too. If you are wondering…you most likely aren’t the only one.

Today’s blog is a conclusion from the request line, “What do unhealthy APEST personalities look like? What if there was a blog post describing what things look like when someone’s gifting is distorted by unhealthy behaviors in their gifting and life?”

Last week we looked at the Dominant Apostle, Disrespectful Prophet and Disconnected Evangelist. This week we wrap it with the Drowning Shepherd and Dogmatic Teacher.

Drowning Shepherd

Shepherds are land animals. Typically, we find shepherds with sheep and not among sharks. Typically. So, how do shepherds drown? It’s quite simple. We drown them in our needs, our preferences, our expectations, our disappointments, our frustrations and our agendas.

Great shepherds nurture the spiritual health of their community. They pastor people. Step by step, they lead them in their life of faith; joining them in the hardest of times and celebrating in the best. Shepherds nurture a sense of family. They practice the life of Jesus in full view of the His body.

Unless they can’t.

In the Church, we have a nasty habit of asking the person charged with “watching the flocks by night” to do “everything under the sun by day.” It drowns them. For a look at the spiritual workflow of the Shepherd, check out the post, “The Shepherd Gift: Curating Christian Community.”

Great shepherds nurture the spiritual health of their community. They pastor people. So, how do shepherds drown? It’s quite simple. We drown them in our needs, our preferences, our expectations, our disappointments, our frustrations… Click To Tweet

The Drowning Shepherd becomes fearful of the flock. They avoid contact and communicate sporadically. They manage anxiety more than they manifest shalom. They become so worried about metrics, counting the sheep, that they lose sight of their calling, leading them.

It’s very difficult to un-drown a shepherd. If I expect them to pay attention to my needs, care for my concerns, resolve my conflicts, mollify my every preference, then I’m not helping. And I’m just one person. As long as we dump more water, they will continue to drown.

And so, the Drowning Shepherd has to become more focused on staying alive than they are on finding new ways for their people to thrive. Their time management becomes about self-preservation, not spiritual transformation.

Church. We can do better. We need shepherds (pastors), and we need them to be who God created them exponentially more than who we expect them to be. If you really want to un-drown a shepherd, ask them how you can help un-burden them. Ask them, “How can more people be quipped to do the hard, emotionally draining work of community?” Then do it. Shepherds are a gift to the church. We need to learn to treat them that way.


Dogmatic Teacher

Teachers bring light to bear. They illuminate the mind and spirit and encourage that light to shine in dark places. Teachers run a relay race for the Church, passing on the ideas and knowledge of our Christian faith, like a torch, from runner to runner. They create space for men and women to grapple with doubt, wrestle with faith and test truth inside and out.

Unless they won’t.

The Dogmatic Teacher believes in the facts whether they are true or not. They harbor fear of their good ol’ religion dying and being replaced by something they have never studied, never been taught and didn’t ever hear from the pulpit growing up. It doesn’t matter what kind of teaching they preserve, their goal is to pass it on simply because it was passed down to them.

For the dogmatic teacher, teaching isn’t about shining light, it’s about correcting beliefs. The dogmatic teacher is consumed with ‘classroom control,’ discouraging questions and conversations that deviate from their…well, dogma. They are amply more satisfied when their students can regurgitate information than they are when they wrestle through to breakthrough and transformation.

The dogmatic teacher gripes about the sermon, taking copious notes of heresies and fallacies. They are the ones who email using ALL CAPS. The dogmatic teacher can teach a lesson on what grace is, technically, but sadly hasn’t experienced it, personally. They can define forgiveness, but can’t seem to offer any.

They are the one who complain about the repetition in praise songs, but don’t notice it in hymns. They leave churches over words on a screen, but don’t pay any attention to what those words actually say.

They are trapped by tradition, prisoners of opinion.

Great teachers create space for crisis that makes for learning moments. The dogmatic teacher controls and corrects, treating learning moments like a crisis. Click To Tweet

We can support teachers simply by not leaving them alone. Let’s encourage their continued growth, provide ways for continued education. Teachers need to be celebrated, they need to be included. We need to create community around them and cherish that community. For my money, the Dogmatic Teacher affect occurs in isolation, as in, “Hey, we found a volunteer to teach the seventh graders! Let’s check back in with them in 34 years.” When a Teacher starts to show signs of dimming, get that lady into the light. Move that man out into the sun!

There are many ways for APEST to go wrong, but there are a million more ways for the gifts of the Lord “to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

How do you experience APEST gone wrong? Even better, how have you see men and women heal? Seeing their APEST calling get back on track?

Chris Harrison
Chris is a husband of one, father of three, musician, creative, storyteller, futurist and Editor-At-Large of the 5Q blog. After more than twenty years in youth, worship and lead ministries in Los Angeles and Phoenix, he and his wife, Rebecca, are planting a new multi-ethnic faith community in Houston, TX. You can catch his other APEST related posts and assorted musings at his new blog, fivefoldbible.com.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *