Often, when ChristianFivefold Ministry; Is That All?s speak about being called into the ministry they are talking about the fivefold ministry of Ephesians 4:11-13, “He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers.” (Read about the meaning of those roles in the articles To What Ministry Are You Called?, Christian Ministries: The Evangelist and He Gave Pastors and Teachers.) But what about missionaries? Are they not called?
If you read our first article you would see that I equate the office of missionary to that of the apostle, but not everyone agrees. The God’s Word Translation thinks that the office of evangelist is equal to that of a missionary. They translate Ephesians 4:11, “He also gave apostles, prophets, missionaries, as well as pastors and teachers as gifts [to his church].” (Emphasis, the author). Yet, others think that the office of missionary lies somewhere else, outside of this fivefold delineation. That leads us to the next question, are there more ministries than this fivefold ministry to which a person may be called.
1 Corinthians 12:28-30 says, “And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, administrating and various kind of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret?” (ESV). These verses indicate another list that includes workers of miracles, those who possess the gift of healing, those who operate in the gifts of helps, those who are administrators, and those who speak with tongues and those who interpret. These are appointed by God, or called. As I pointed out in an earlier article, these offices are for today. You cannot simply pick and choose which ones cease and which ones don’t. In the middle of this list you can find those who are helpers, and those who are administrators as well as teachers. Has the time of administrators ended? Have teachers stopped?
While there are arguments made that these gifts of healing and miracles have ceased, there is not a bible passage to support it. Most people base their view that these offices have stopped on the fact that they don’t see them operating in their church. Yet, Corinthians states that these offices are given for the church. We are still in the church age, why would they not be in operation? But this argument is beyond the scope of this article, although, I invite you to investigate. This article is about calling, the discovery of your calling, and that there are callings outside the fivefold ministry.
This Corinthian passage points out six more offices than which we have already spoken. The gift of healing is exactly what you think it is, it is demonstrated by healing the sick through the power of Jesus Christ. It is a special calling demonstrated by more than just the original twelve disciples. In Luke 10 Jesus sent out seventy-two to heal the sick (v.8). Philip healed in Acts 8:7, and Ananias healed Paul of his blindness (Acts 9:17).
Miracles continued after the death of Jesus as well and they are given to the church, including miraculous provision, the opening of prison doors and even casting out devils. There are those called to help. You can usually find these folks in the church volunteering to get things done or you will find them in the soup kitchen, they are the ones that are there week in and week out without any recognition. When I meet someone at a soup kitchen and I ask them how long have them been serving the poor I am often amazed when they tell me something like eight years. That is the calling of God on their life that enables them to continue.
The same is true of administrators, they are gifted. Those that speak in tongues and those who interpret are often gifted as well. They speak encouragement and may speak to the church corporately, or they may speak to individuals. And they speak what the Lord is saying. What a great responsibility!
But do all heal? Do all work miracles? This is a rhetorical question requiring the answer of no. But why? Paul points out that we are all the body of Christ and the gifts are for the church—for all of us. The church should be functioning as one. To function as the church should, we need each other because you are the finger, and another is the ear, another the mouthpiece. The body is not the body individually. No wonder Hebrews 10:25 says not to forsake the gathering of ourselves together.
Is there a calling of God outside of direct ministry?
Are there other callings besides ministry? Can God use me in technology, writing, art? Absolutely! In Exodus 31 God called specific people to be artists, and builders, and craftsmen. “The Lord said to Moses, “See, I have called by name Bezalel the son of Uri son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with ability and intelligence, with knowledge and all craftsmanship, to devise artistic designs, to work in gold, silver, and bronze, in cutting stones for craft and in carving wood, to work in every craft.” God can call you to many different things, including missionary and artist, musician and prophet.
But what is the most important calling? The most important calling is the one God has called YOU to do.
The key question: What is YOUR calling?
On this website under the heading CALLING, you can find 10 factors that lead you to answer if you called. Those factors should apply to what you are called to. Key points to remember are that God gives you the desire of your heart, and as my pastor said to me, “Deacons deke.” You will do your calling if you are driven by God.
The final point is that there is no formula. God wants a relationship! The entire Bible is God reaching out to us to have a relationship. To discover God’s calling for you means you must spend time asking Him what that calling is. Only in His presence will you hear His direction for your life.