Today’s post is an excerpt from the Introduction of our brand new resource, Activating 5Q: A User’s Guide by Alan Hirsch and Jessie Cruikshank. We couldn’t be more excited about this release. We believe that there’s so much between its covers that will equip and excite, inspire and inform your 5Q journey. We can’t wait to hear what you are learning and how you are applying what you discover.

After you enjoy this free preview, you’re going to want to get the whole book and can do so here for a discounted price. Join the symphony and share your experience in the comments below.


You might be an APEST veteran, or you might be completely new to the conversation. Whatever your starting point, we want to start by outlining some of the key concepts, which will help build toward an understanding of 5Q. You might want to keep coming back to some of these concepts, so save this post to Evernote, Notes or wherever you store your information goldmine!

Defining APEST

The apostle/apostolic: “Sending and Extending”

In Greek, the term literally means “sent one.” As the name itself suggests, it is the quintessentially missional (from missio, the Latin equivalent) ministry. The French translation of the term apostle (envoy) picks up this sense of commission much better than the English translation – an apostle is an envoy. It is a pioneering function of the church: the capacity to extend Christianity as a healthy, integrated, reproducing movement, ever-expanding into new cultures. It also takes care and responsibility for the ongoing integrity of the core ideas (DNA, organizational principles, or meta-ideas) that generate and maintain systemic health across the organization.

The apostle is a pioneering function of the church: the capacity to extend Christianity as a healthy, integrated, reproducing movement, ever-expanding into new cultures. Click To Tweet

The prophet/prophetic: “Questioning and Embodying”

The prophetic is the function tasked with maintaining an abiding loyalty and faithfulness to God above all. Essentially, prophets are guardians of the covenant relationship that God has with his people. The prophetic is also passionately concerned about living a life morally consistent with the covenant—a simple and authentic life of justice, holiness, and righteousness. The prophetic proclaims God’s holiness and calls for holiness in God’s people (1 Peter 1:16).

The evangelist/evangelistic: “Recruiting and Connecting”

The evangelistic function involves the proclamation of the good news that is at the core of the church’s message. Evangelism is therefore all about the core message and its reception in the hearts of people and cultures. The evangelist is the storyteller, the all-important recruiter to the cause, the naturally infectious person who is able to get “buy-in” and so enlists people into what God is doing in and through the church.

The shepherd/shepherding: “Developing and Deepening”

Shepherding is the function and calling responsible for maintaining and developing healthy community and enriching relationships. This involves a concern to nurture spiritual maturity, maintain communal health, defend the community against breakdown, and engender loving community among the redeemed Family of God.

The Shepherd embodies a concern to nurture spiritual maturity, maintain communal health, defend the community against breakdown, and engender loving community among the redeemed Family of God. Click To Tweet

The teacher/didactic : “Training and Contextualizing”

The teaching function is concerned with the passing on of wisdom and understanding. This is involves bringing a comprehensive understanding of the revelation given to the church. It is a guiding and discerning function. A biblical understanding to this function emphasizes wisdom, not simply speculative philosophy. Teaching, of course also involves, integrating the intellectual and spiritual treasure of the community and encoding it in order to pass it on to others and to the next generations.

Function and Callings – What’s The Difference?

One key thing to note at this stage is that 5Q largely focuses on functions rather than callings, so it’s important to appreciate the difference. If you know anything about APEST, you have probably considered it primarily through the lens of your own and others’ callings. “I’m an apostle,” you might say, “and my associate is a pastor.” As understanding of APEST has grown within the church, much of the focus has been on these individual callings, rather than on the APEST functions. We wholeheartedly believe that each disciple should seek to understand and live into his or her own individual calling. (You can do a person profile at www.5Qcentral.com/tests). But, over the last few years we have begun to appreciate the significance of the APEST capacities coming together in an organization, and what those functions look like when operating in symphony.

 

Take a look at the table below to compare the difference between functions and callings for each of the APEST:

AWARENESS (allowing our 5Q understanding to help ourselves, our ministry and community in new ways):

Do you know what your personal APEST calling is?

(If not try taking the optional, but recommended, APEST profile test)

Summarize the difference between functions and callings.

Which parts of the role you currently have in church ministry matches your APEST calling and which parts don’t?

Do you, or does your church or organization, value some functions more than others? If so, why do you think this might be the case?

APPLICATION (embodying our 5Q in ways that engage transformation in ourselves, or ministry and our community):

What steps could you take to ensure your role more accurately reflects your APEST call?

What changes could you make to help those you lead to operate in a role that reflects their APEST call?

How can you model and demonstrate equal worth of each of the fivefold?

You can get your copy of Activating 5Q: A User’s Guide here. And, please share your discovery with us in the comments. 

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.