And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love (Ephesians 4:11-16).

The power of utilizing the strengths of God’s grace is indispensable in the Body of Christ. God gave gifted individuals to establish the foundation of the church (Eph. 2:20). God gave different gifts and different responsibilities to different people to launch this new people of God. Ephesians 4:11 is often referred to as APEST (Apostles / Prophets / Evangelists / Shepherds (rather than pastors) and Teachers – regardless of your theological bent on cessation, the argument is that a healthy church needs these types of gifts to get established and grow. The argument proposes that when churches are missing these kinds of gifted people, the church struggles.

The power of utilizing people in the right way is essential in the Body of Christ. Not everyone can do the same role and it is unnecessary. The key to the “APEST” gifts is primarily to equip others for the work of service (v.12). Some have argued that the primary catalyst for a healthy, growing church are these kinds of gifted individuals. Evangelists are critical, simply because there are many who do not have that gift nor do they seem to have the resolve to engage lost people with the gospel – good or bad, right or wrong – evangelists are on the cutting edge of a lost world, and they help energize mission.

The power of spiritual health depends on building up the Body in love. There are four key elements to spiritual health, maturity, and stability: First, unity of faith. People unify around a lot of different things in our world, but upon closer examination it is not always a unity of faith in Christ. Second, knowledge of the Son of God. The mark of a healthy church is an ongoing and deepening relationship with Christ. Third, maturity. Maturity indicates change and transformation over time. The process is often uncomfortable, but the result is being like Christ. Finally, the fullness of Christ. When the Body of Christ is filled up with all the fullness of Christ, then everything is about Christ – it is about the person of Christ, the mission of Christ, the gospel of Christ, and finally the glory of Christ.

The power of spiritual health is every person doing their part. When the whole Body is using their strengths to equip and empower others in the Body then a life-transforming experience impacts the whole Body. This is not just about individuals changing, it is about the transformation of the whole Body. Imagine a church so unified in faith, constantly maturing, not being distracted by the voices around them – there is a constant, transforming work of the Spirit of God to create something greater than the sum of the parts. It is amazing in every sense of the word. The bottom line, we desperately need each other because God has so ordained the working of His Body that everyone has great value.


Pastor Brad Little