The Ministries of the Holy Spirit

The Fivefold Ministry Gift

And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets;

and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry,

for the edifying of the body of Christ. —

Ephesians 4:11


 The Office of Apostle

  1. An apostle is a divine delegate—one who has come to the people of the world, representing the Trinity in heaven. The apostle does not act on his own behalf; he is anointed by the Holy Spirit to act on behalf of the body of Christ, the church of the Lord Jesus Christ.
  2. The position of apostle, as the very word implies, means a person who is sent forth to do a work for God.
  3. Any person—man or woman—with an apostolic calling has the ability, the authority, and the anointing to raise up a church without any outside help. Paul had this amazing ability. He could enter a town, walk into the marketplace, and have a church formed before nightfall. He could stir up the devil and divide a city within only a few hours. Not only could he raise up a church—establish it and found it—but he also had the power and ability to remain there as pastor. He could teach the people in that church, then start a school and send out workers to other places.
  4. The apostle is a combination of the other four church ministries. He can be whatever is needed—pastor, evangelist, teacher, or prophet. In addition, the apostle can set church government in order. He can establish deacon boards and elderships, develop the ministry of helps within a church body, and place governments in a church so the body will function properly.
  5. If a minister fills all five offices of ministry to the body of Christ, then he is an apostle.
  6. There are at least twenty-four apostles listed in the New Testament.
  7. Matthew 10:2–4 lists the first twelve apostles who walked with Jesus: Now the names of the twelve apostles are these; the first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus; Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him.
  8. In Romans 16:7 Paul wrote, Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen, and my fellow prisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me.


 The Office of Prophet 

  1. The office of apostle is the highest ministry of the church. The second ministerial office is that of the prophet. The office of prophet cannot be filled through a democratic election. A prophet is called of God and set apart by God. The person God picks to fill this office is not chosen on the basis of personality, education, or public standing. When God appoints a prophet in the land, the people there have nothing to do with it.
  2. In the Old Testament, the position of a prophet was one of divine guide. He was sent by God to lead the people of Israel. The prophet at that time was also called a seer: “Beforetime in Israel, when a man went to inquire of God, thus he spake, Come, and let us go to the seer: for he that is now called a Prophet was beforetime called a Seer.” (1 Sam. 9:9) The Hebrew word ra’ah—to see or to perceive—tells us what the ministry of the prophet is all about. Also, the word chozeh—beholder of visions—is used of a seer or a prophet.
  3. The Bible lists seventy-eight prophets and prophetesses.
  4. A very remarkable prophet of the Old Testament is Enoch. Genesis 5:21 says, “And Enoch lived sixty and five years, and begat Methuselah.” The word Methuselah means “at his death the sending forth of waters.” * Enoch was caught up to God when he was 365 years old, but his son Methuselah lived 969 years. Comparing the day Methuselah was born with the date of the great flood, you will discover that he died the year of the flood. I believe he died the hour that the flood began since his name means “at his death the sending forth of waters.”
  5. Examples of Prophets in the Old Testament: Adam, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Elijah, Isaiah, David, Jeremiah.
  6. Examples of Prophets in the New Testament: Peter, Paul, James, John, Zacharias, Simeon, Agabus.
  7. Anyone who says that God does not use women has not studied history or the Bible.
  8. Example of Prophetesses: Miriam, Deborah, Huldah, Isaiah’s wife, Anna.


 The Office of Evangelist 

  1. The evangelist is a proclaimer of the Gospel. That is his purpose of ministry, and he does not deviate from it. He simply preaches the love and forgiveness of God and the salvation that is available to all through His Son Jesus Christ. When he preaches this simple Gospel message, people receive salvation.
  2. An evangelist is a gift from God to the church. A person cannot go to Bible school and study to become an evangelist.
  3. Examples of Evangelists in the New Testament: Philip, Timothy.


 The Office of Pastor 

  1. A pastor is a shepherd. The Greek word poimen occurs seventeen times in the New Testament. Only one time is it translated “pastor,” which is in Ephesians 4:11. The other sixteen times, it is translated “shepherd.” So, in Ephesians 4:11 Paul was saying that the pastor is to be the shepherd of his flock, of his church.
  2. Matthew 9:36 says, “When [Jesus] saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.” Jesus is the Chief Shepherd, the Chief Pastor. He saw the multitudes and was moved with compassion.
  3. In Jeremiah 3:15 God said, “And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.”
  4. This is the ministry of a pastor: to feed the flock with knowledge and understanding, to feed the souls of all who come by the Spirit of God.
  5. In addition to a shepherd, the Bible also speaks of hirelings—people who say they are pastors. In John’s gospel, Jesus said, I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. But he that is a hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. The hireling fleeth, because he is a hireling, and careth not for the sheep. (John 10:11–13)
  6. There is a great difference between someone who has been hired and someone whom God has commissioned. A real pastor is commissioned by God to do his job, and he will pastor even if he never gets a dime. He will keep doing it even if he never gets any appreciation. Why? Because God told him to do it. A hireling, on the other hand, will quit if he does not get exactly what he wants.
  7. The distinguishing mark is the pastor’s heart. A shepherd’s heart cannot be fabricated. It cannot be received at Bible school. A shepherd’s heart comes only from God. Either you have it, or you do not.


 The Office of Teacher 

  1. A teacher of the Word can be located in one place, or he can travel. The office of teacher carries a very special anointing for opening people’s understanding of God’s Word.
  2. All the education in the world will not make a teacher of God’s Word. A teacher is a person who has been set in the body of Christ by God for one specific purpose: to teach the Word.
  3. Examples of teachers in the New Testament: Paul, John, Peter, Apollos.


 Elders, Deacons, Helps, and Governments

 The Office of Elder 

  1. The first we will deal with is the elder, or bishop. First Timothy 3:1 states, “This is a true saying, if a man desire the office of a bishop [or elder], he desireth a good work.” It is good to desire the office of elder—not the title, but the ministry it involves.
  2. First Timothy 5:17–19 reveals how the elder is to function in the body of Christ: Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially they who labor in the word and doctrine. For the scripture saith, thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, the labourer is worthy of his reward. Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses.
  3. In Titus 1:5–6 Paul wrote, For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee: if any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly.
  4. Here Paul was showing us the responsibilities and qualifications of these elders. It is good to obey the Lord in everything, especially when it concerns elders, because they are the ones who function in the spiritual part of the church.
  5. Verses 7–9 continue, For a bishop [or elder] must be blameless, as the steward of God; not self-willed, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre [that is, not a lover of money]; but a lover of hospitality [one who invites people into his home and ministers to them], a lover of good men [associates with good people], sober, just, holy, temperate; holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.
  6. Notice this phrase: “as he hath been taught.” The apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, or teacher whom God has set in the church takes those in the church and teaches them. As verse 9 continues, an elder is taught “that he may be able by sound doctrine [as he has been taught] both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers [those who come against the body].” This is the role of the elder: a spiritual overseer in the church, involved in blessing the people spiritually.


 The Office of Deacon 

  1. In 1 Timothy 3:8–12 we read, Likewise must the deacons be grave, not double-tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre; holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience. And let these also first be proved [not novices]; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless. Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things. Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.
  2. As qualifications for both the eldership and the deaconship, God said these men should be capable of ruling their own houses. Americans have been taught very little about this subject, and it grieves me.
  3. The Bible says that a deacon must be faithful in all things, the husband of one wife, ruling his children and his house well. “For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus” (1 Tim. 3:13). Deaconship is a good work. The Lord expects a deacon to be an example to the people in his church.


 The Ministry of Helps 

  1. The New Testament is filled with examples of helps in action. The word helps in Acts 27:17 speaks of the ropelike cable that sailors used to wrap around the ship during a storm: “They used helps, undergirding the ship.” The ministry of helps is what God wraps around us to hold us together in our stormy times.
  2. The Bible mentions seven people who ministered in this area of helps. For example, there is Phebe. In Romans 16:1–2 Paul said, “I commend unto you Phebe our sister, which is a servant of the church...: that ye receive her in the Lord...for she hath been a succourer [helper] of many, and of myself also.” Phebe was a helper. She carried the book of Romans to Rome for Paul at his request. Though she was not a preacher, Phebe helped spread the Word.
  3. Lydia was another helper who supported Paul. We find in Acts 16:14–15 how she provided lodging in her home in Philippi for Paul and his group.
  4. In the Old Testament, there were two men who held up the arms of Moses during a battle. (See Exodus 17:8–12.) As long as Moses held up his hands, there was victory for the children of Israel; but when he became weary and let his hands fall, the Israelites began to lose. So, Aaron and Hur held up Moses’ tired arms and in this way helped win the victory. They were helpers; Moses could not function without them.
  5. No man of God can function without helpers. I am surrounded with helpers; and when we get to heaven, they may get a bigger reward than me. That will be God’s business, not mine.



  1. In 1 Corinthians 12:28 the Greek word for governments is kubernesis, meaning “to steer or to guide.” This word governments means the steering committee; it has no reference to power or to ruling. Those who possess knowledge to steer a church and guide it around its problems become the governments of that church.
  2. Within a church, there are many kinds of operations, all kinds of groups and committees. To build a new building, you choose a building committee. This is an example of church government.
  3. You may ask, “Why does God want all this?” Because He wants order. For everything to run smoothly, there must be organization. God wants church government to be well oiled with the Holy Spirit. This means that mature men and women can bless the church by being set aside to do certain things within the church, to operate the church in the way it ought to be operated.


Notes taken from the Book: “The Gifts and Ministries of The Holy Spirit” written by Lester Sumrall.