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The Hyphenated Gifts of Pastor and Apostle

Jan-Aage Torp
August 18, 2014

Thre is a difference between functioning as a local pastor and an apostle.

The Hyphenated Gifts of Pastor and ApostleAs our ministry is developing, expanding and growing in Oslo, Europe and beyond, we have to consider many factors regarding building the local ekklesia, the Church. Ekklesia is greek and means “they that are called out”. Jesus gave all authority and power to His ekklesia.

The ekklesia is fundamentally the same in her local and universal expressions. The local church has a physical address and tangible, hands-on leadership, but even the universal church should base everything on that as well. Roaming “ministers” who don´t belong locally are really a liability and threat to the soundness of the universal ekklesia!

Christ gave five gifts to the Church (Ephesians 4:11-16) as a servant leadership. All five are interdependent and necessary. And there is rank and order among them as well (1Corinthians 12:28): First in rank is the apostle, second is the prophet….

But the local ekklesia is really led and served by the pastor. An apostle gives oversight to several churches and 5-fold ministers, to movements and even geographical regions, but the pastor cares for the flock that he (or she) has been entrusted.

Now, most often an apostle has a combined Christ-gifitng, for instance apostle-prophet, apostle-evangelist, apostle-teacher or apostle-pastor. That increases the efficiency of the apostle, but it is necessary to understand, consider and appreciate the differences for this to function well. This is what Peter Wagner calls a hyphenated gifting.

I am finding that I am functioning differently as an apostle than as a pastor. As apostle, I cover big areas, great perspectives, deep issues of society. As pastor, I am concerned about the individual disciple, family, group of friends in the local church – in all our opportunities and challenges of life, from conception until natural death. It isn´t easy to combine the two expressions of Christ-giftings, but so necessary! If I lead the local ekklesia as an apostle, the environment of the local church will easily become cold, machine-like, and impersonal, and the result will be no joy, love, harmony and growth. (But as an apostle, even ministering in far-off places, my pastoral gift is also very necessary, because even high-level leaders need to be loved and nurtured, remember?) 

Jesus Christ is the ultimate example of a pastor, and He is simultaneously an apostle, so the combination is rooted in HIM:

Willmore D. Eva wrote a succinct description of “Jesus as the ultimate Pastor” in the March 2014 issue of Ministry Magazine:

When Jesus and other New Testament writers repeatedly refer to the Lord as a “Shepherd,” the original word they use is the same as the one for “pastor” In Latin based languages, the word “pastor” is the word for “shepherd,” and vice versa. Thus when the New Testament, or Jesus Himself, talks of the “Good Shepherd,” one could say it refers to Jesus as the “Good Pastor.”

What does this mean to us? The most direct way to express the meaning is to quote well-known “Shepherd” passages, using “pastor” rather than “Shepherd.” Take a look at John 10: “I am the good [pastor]. The good [pastor] lays down his life for the sheep [his people]” (NIV). Another says: “And when the Chief [Pastor] appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away” (1 Peter 5:2, 4, NIV). And: “. . . Our Lord Jesus, that great [Pastor] of the [people] sheep . . .” (Heb. 13:20, NIV).

Jesus’ portrayal of Himself as “the good pastor,” provides ministers with a pivotal way of not only viewing Jesus, but of looking into the heart of pastoral work. Jesus as the definitive pastor supplies us with our unique identity as men and women called of God to be lovers of human beings, spiritual leaders, evangelists, healers, encouragers, teachers, and proclaimers of hope and faith. When we look into the face of this divinely designed and appointed role of Jesus Christ, we realize it is not merely a quaint, charming, or touching view of the ministry of Jesus; it is, instead, our consummate model.

How Jesus dealt with and felt about people, what His innate attitudes were, the way He thought and taught and lived and loved; this defines for us what pastoring is all about.

Jesus’ way of pastoring is our model for pastoring.

For the local Body of Christ in Oslochurch, they need Aina & me as the pastors. When that is functioning like Jesus, then they are thrilled to be a part of the great apostolic ministry as well.

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