I recently took the online inventory commonly referred to as the APEST put together by Alan Hirsch and company. The notion behind this quiz is that all leaders have some measure of all five of the Eph. 4 office gifts resting upon them – Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Shepherd and Teacher. Based on a series of timed online questions you receive a list of all five of the gifts and how you fared. The top two areas are the most significant and tell the most about the unique way you are wired.
When I saw my results I thought they were entirely wrong. As one who is passionately involved with church planting I assumed I would have scored the highest as an Evangelist. I get great joy out of seeing others come to Christ. To my surprise I scored the highest as a Shepherd and lowest as an Evangelist! In fact, I barely registered in the E category. The test suggested that with my mix of gifts I am likely to be someone who is passionate about leading others into causes I care deeply about. Whether I am able to actually do those things is another question!
The interesting thing is I have confessed for years I’m not so much an Evangelist – I am just passionate about seeing others get involved in evangelism! It’s kind of a Huck Finn arrangement – getting others to white wash the fence. “This is fun stuff! You can do it too. Normally we charge for the privilege of working at this, but for you it’s free. Let’s have some fun together.” Truth be told, I’ve done that for years though I’m not all that gifted at doing evangelism myself.
I wonder if that combination isn’t fairly common among church planters – not having the need to do the work of whatever, but passionately leading the charge to see it done.
Billy Graham has confessed for years that he is an introvert. He says when he’s on a plane he prays he gets to sit next to quiet person who doesn’t want to talk! He personally rates his success by how many people he has called into the ministry of evangelism more than the doing of evangelism he is known for.
Ephesians 4 says it well. These offices are all about “the equipping of the saints to do the work of the ministry.” Shepherds stir up shepherding in the Church. Prophets cause a new level of truth telling to take place. Teachers cause teaching to be released in the Church. Evangelists stir up the work of evangelism. All of these gifts inspire others to do the work of the ministry.
Go for it. Stir things up in your realm whatever that is.