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Today’s blog is 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?”
Ok…we put our heads together and this is what we came up with.
The secret sauce of Apostolic ministry is multiplication. They are ‘more’ makers: more churches, more disciples, more strategies, more vision, more innovation and so on. As such, the apostle exercises tons of forward vision. They are hard wired to take the Church to places we’ve never been, in directions we never imagined we could go. They nurture the DNA of the faith, passing it on, handing it down, teaching the nuances of the rhythm of grace to the next generation. J.R. Woodward calls them Dream Awakeners. The Apostle helps men and women discern the call of the Gospel, activating, equipping and sending them into the God’s mission.
Unless they aren’t.
What happens, when they get tired, grow disillusioned, are burdened or hurt? They lose the clarity of their call and slip into what might be called, The Dominant Apostle, exercising more control than call, more purpose than passion.
The Dominant Apostle manipulates the momentum of the church, demanding more following and less questioning. They push from behind rather than lead from the front. Either that, or run far ahead, blaming their brothers and sister for “not getting it,” and “not keeping up.” Organizational symptoms will present as lots of wounded people in need of the Shepherd and untested challenge and change requiring the balance offered by the Teacher.
When the Apostle gets tired, grows disillusioned, is burdened or hurt, they lose the clarity of their call and transform into what can be called The Dominant Apostle, exercising more control than call, more purpose than passion. Click To Tweet
Apostles need to stay connected to a diverse web of church leaders, watching their speed, checking the corporate pulse, asking for help, stopping to pray and enjoying fellowship with other believers – or they risk The Dominant Apostle bursting out of them not unlike the Hulk does from Bruce Banner.
The role of Prophet is to love and encourage the body of Christ with the heart of the Father. They listen to God and articulate His heart for His people. Sometimes a call to holiness is necessary, but even then it sounds like love. The prophet leads the Church to repentance and new life by sharing visions and images of divine inspiration. They give the body strength by respecting our weakness, our vulnerability and our desperate need for Jesus.
Unless they don’t.
The prophet can grow frustrated with leadership that doesn’t create space for their gifting. As a result, they can become exclusive, speak offensively and inconsiderately, focusing more on justice issues outside the church than their call to the Church.
I can’t tell you how many times a “prophet” has come up to me and aired their grievances with the preface, “The Lord told me to tell you…” The Disrespectful Prophet understand the weakness of the Church; understands our vulnerability, our desperate need and they turn it and use it against us. The Disrespectful prophet is more concerned with making the body of Christ conform to “My word” than “Thy Word.” They can’t communicate the love and encouragement of the Lord because they aren’t receiving His love and encouragement for themselves.
The Disrespectful Prophet reminds us of our wrongs and point us to the past. They fortify our failures instead of God’s forgiveness, our hurts instead of our hopes. Where God’s word encourages, the Disrespectful Prophet demoralizes. Where God’s Word builds His Kingdom, their words build a graveyard.
The Prophet can stave off this mutant version of themselves by abiding in the love of the Father, marinating in the music of the scriptures, the comfort of community and the spirit of worship. The church can help by honoring the prophet, loving them in season and out, partnering them with other APEST personalities, ‘togethering’ with them in the burden of their calling.
Evangelists expand circles. They nurture neighbors and cultivate culture shapers for the Kingdom of God. At the heart of the Evangelist is the desire to “see how big this thing can get”! They create pathways for people to plug in, provide on-ramps for the disconnected to get connected. In a world that longs to belong, evangelists tell a story about God that we hunger to connect to. That we long to discover ourselves in.
The Evangelist is a people person.
Until they aren’t.
So, what happens when an evangelist stops wanting to engage the people around them? What happens when they shut down and isolate? They become The Disconnected Evangelist.
The Disconnected Evangelist is ‘disconnected’ on several levels. First, they become disconnected from the Story, the heart of God that pursues the world he loves. They are no longer connected to their calling: To seek the lost and help them find their story in God’s story. They are no longer connected to the lost. They unplug from the grid, no longer powered by the energy of people who are desperate to know life and know it to the full! When evangelists stop seeking the lost, they themselves become lost.
The Disconnected Evangelist loses interest in the changing mediums that share the world’s messages. They lose track of how people communicate and resort to stale and static methods that fail to reach people in the language (or social media) of their heart. In short, they become ‘irrelevant’ and thus feel even more disconnected.
The evangelist is like the drummer of the church band. They set the tempo for the life of faith. They lay down the beat, if you will. When the evangelist unplugs, the people of God no longer have a rhythm to dance to. Worship can become routine, ritual and static. Fellowship can slip into the uninspiring, the comfortable and the predictable.
The Church can nurture their evangelists simply by joining them in prayer and joining them in their work. Praying with them for their mission field is a divine act of ’togethering.’ Meet with them. Ask about their God-time. How often are the soaking in the presence of the God they serve? Keep up with the pulse of their passion. Evangelism is aerobic. We might need to provide space for them to rest and recover. No one can work out all day, every day. Encourage their calling. This might look like joining them in their mission, even if “God hasn’t called you to be an evangelist!” Stay ready to uplift them in tough times and prepare systems to disciple the harvest they bring you.
The evangelist is like the drummer of the church band. They set the tempo for the life of faith. They lay down the beat, if you will. When the evangelist unplugs, the people of God no longer have a rhythm to dance to. Click To Tweet
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?