Scripture reveals that one of the key functions of the Ephesians’ 4:11 gifts is equipping. Eph 4:11-16 And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, (12) for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; (13) until we all attain to… the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. What does this process of equipping look like in the everyday life of a local church?
It is important to first understand what those gifts are about. The Ephesians’ 4 gifts center around the heart and nature of God. Jesus was identified as possessing and moving in all those gifts as He walked on this earth.
He was an apostle Heb 3:1; He was a teacher Mat 19:16; He was an evangelist Luk 19:10; He was a prophet Mar 6:1-6; and He was a pastor Joh 10:11-14.
When Jesus returned to heaven, He invested those gifts in people. One way to expand our thinking to see these gifts better is to see them representing desires in the heart of God. They represent five desires God is motivated with all the time. He never has a time when He isn’t apostolic, prophetic, evangelistic, and pastoral. Ephesians’ 4 gifts represent the fullness of the heart desires of God.
People possessing those gifts are to “equip” God’s people to embrace the fullness of His heart. Equipping means to “complete thoroughly, to repair or to furnish.” The Greek word was used in a couple of places in which the disciples “mended” their nets after fishing Matthew 4:21, Mark 1:19. The process of mending is repairing and strengthening for use.
People possessing the E4 gifts are constantly stirring (furnishing, mending, and repairing) people to embrace the heart of Jesus in their particular area. It is more than just teaching or doing it themselves. They consistently move to catch people up in the heart of God in the sphere of their gift. It includes instruction, example, and motivation. They want God’s people to move in His heart
One way to picture it in the ongoing life of a local church is the analogy of a generator. When a generator is running it is sending out electrical currents all the time. You can plug things into it anytime and they will be powered with the currents of that generator. If God’s spiritual generator is running in any area, then the signals and power from His heart are available to all who plug into it.
Ephesians 4 equippers (and those in congregations with a similar heart) give attention to keeping the generators of their area running all the time. They also stir people by calling attention to His heart in that are so they will plug into generator. They want God’s people to constantly receive the signals and power for the heart of God in their particular area.
Evangelist (and those with evangelistic wiring) push to see the evangelistic generator running all the time and God’s people plugged into it. They want God’s people stirred and empowered to move in heart of God for evangelism. When this is happening consistently God’s people take on the Jesus’ evangelistic nature and become a dynamic force for evangelism. .
Here is an example (from Jim Morgan) of the evangelistic generator consistently running in Christian Life Fellowship in Raleigh NC.
It’s a day of looking outward for Christian Life Fellowship Church in Raleigh NC. An evangelistic thrust is happening in our church. The signs are evident everywhere. People who feared sharing the gospel are gaining courage. People who always wanted to speak up for Jesus are gaining confidence to share their faith. People who are on fire for God are taking the fire outside of the four walls and touching a hurting community. We are believing to double in size this year. New visitors are coming each week. When you look across the congregation, there are visitors and friends scattered throughout the crowd. Something is happening in Christian Life Fellowship Church and it’s God. Spanish speakers are coming. French speakers are coming. English speakers are coming. The various outreach ministries are seeing growth with newcomers. Good reports are coming in from the Men’s group, the ladies’ group, the campus kids are on fire, the youth are on fire, and life groups are regathering. The outreach team has been busy visiting different apartment complexes with food and fellowship. The rain is beginning to fall as an increasing drizzle, but the downpour is right around the corner. The surge of this evangelistic activity has become contagious with an infection breaking out. I’m believing for an epidemic. It all begins with a love for people for whom Jesus shed His blood. They are in our midst: multicultural, multiracial, and multilingual. They need what we who know the Lord have all needed: an encounter with the living Christ and His family.