In Ephesians 4, Paul offers a picture of the church living in tremendous unity with one another and growing in Christlike maturity. He says that Jesus himself has given people-gifts (apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds, teachers) to equip and build up the whole church to experience the maturity and fullness of Christ. We are passionate about equipping the whole church to live out their missional calling and to discover their APEST vocation.
We suggest you engage in these 4 elements as you discern your APEST vocation:
 Read through the brief descriptions of each APEST vocation below.
 Get feedback from a spiritual friend about where they see you in these vocations.
 Listen to this sermon on disciple-making and APEST.
 Take the Personal APEST Vocational Assessment.
APOSTLES – Catalyze and Co-mission
Strengths of Apostles:
- Catalysts who start new works, pioneering into new territory
- Co-mission others to join God in making disciples
- Keep the church focused on vision, mission, and core values
- Maintain a sense of the “big picture” and the strategy of making disciples
- Big dreamers, risk-takers, and love setting goals
- Cultivate a THRIVING environment by helping the church step out into new territory, extend Jesus to new people and places, and multiplying disciples and churches.
We desperately need healthy, passionate Apostles because without them we lose our sense of the big picture vision of Jesus and will be less likely to take risks with God.
If you have trouble starting something new, staying focused on a vision, or setting a bold goal, then you need to hang out with an Apostle – they will help you mature in this!
Shadows of Apostles:
- Value their dreams or goals over people
- Can lack gentleness and patience with others
- Have a difficult time resting because they are driven by achievement
- Unable to distinguish between good ideas and God-ideas
If you are an Apostle, we need you to start Missional Churches with us – but you’re probably going to need a Shepherd or Teacher to do it with you to help you care and invest deeply in people.
Jesus is the best Apostle we have ever known – he was the original “sent one” from the Father – he blazed a new trail and he was extremely mission-focused on the dreams of God for him and his disciples.
PROPHETS – Expose and Embody
Strengths of Prophets:
- Expose false claims to power by challenging the status quo
- Embody a deep life with God and help others encounter God
- Have a sense of the truth that needs to be communicated in their time and place
- Sensitive to God’s passionate heart for the poor and marginalized
- Keep the church honest by asking the “why” question
- Cultivate a LIBERATING environment by helping the church pursue intimacy with God, experience liberation from sin, and stand with the poor in the power of the Spirit.
We desperately need healthy, passionate Prophets because without them we lose our sense of God’s heart for us and the poor and will be less likely to repent when we have sinned individually or communally.
If you have trouble experiencing God with intimacy, discerning a tough situation, or having a heart for the poor then you need to hang out with a Prophet – they will help you mature in this!
Shadows of Prophets:
- Can be overly critical and hyper-focused on what they dislike and disagree with
- Speak in absolute terms, talking about their perspective as simply “the truth”
- It can be difficult for them to extend grace to people
- Constantly question but don’t get to action
If you are a Prophet, we need you to start Missional Churches with us – but you’re probably going to need a Evangelist to do it with you to help you build relationships with people who don’t know Jesus.
Jesus is the best Prophet we have ever known – he had a deep life of prayer and intimacy with God, he spoke truth to the religious power of his day, and he stood alongside the poor and oppressed.
EVANGELISTS – Invite and Excite
Strengths of Evangelists:
- Invite people to live in the kingdom of God
- Excite the church to share their faith in Jesus
- Natural connectors and love meeting new people
- Find attractive ways to communicate Jesus to others
- Help other disciples build relationships with nonChristians
- Cultivate a WELCOMING environment by helping the church share the good news of Jesus and extend fellowship to all, especially those society has marginalized.
We desperately need healthy, passionate Evangelists because without them we lose our sense of the joy and goodness of Jesus and will be less like to share our faith in Christ with people.
If you have trouble sharing your faith, building new friendships, or welcoming new people then you need to hang out with a Evangelist – they will help you mature in this!
Shadows of Evangelists:
- Can be easily discouraged when things are no longer exciting
- Have a difficult time building spiritual friendships with a few core people
- Avoid conflict because they want people to like them
- Sell Jesus rather than share him
If you are a Evangelist, we need you to start Missional Churches with us – but you’re probably going to need a Teacher to do it with you to help you grow people with the wisdom and character of Jesus as they start to follow him.
Jesus is the best Evangelist we have ever known – he shared the good news of the kingdom of God everywhere he went, he came to “seek and save the lost”, and he built new friendships all the time.
SHEPHERDS – Guard and Guide
Strengths of Shepherds:
- Guard the community from danger
- Guide people towards health and wholeness in Jesus
- Create spaces where people feel safe to be vulnerable
- Deeply care about individuals and their unique life-story
- Challenge the church to experience healing as the new family of God
- Cultivate a HEALING environment by helping the church work through their past pain and hurt, practice forgiveness and reconciliation, and move towards wholeness in Jesus.
We desperately need healthy, passionate Shepherds because without them we lose our sense of the care and guidance of God and will be less likely to forgive and reconcile as Jesus teaches.
If you have trouble working through emotional wounds, listening to people well, or building others up in love then you need to hang out with a Shepherd – they will help you mature in this!
Shadows of Shepherds:
- Afraid of offending so avoid difficult conversations
- Can easily overextend themselves because they don’t set boundaries
- Focus too much on an individual and lose sight of the larger mission
- Can be overprotective of people
If you are a Shepherd, we need you to start Missional Churches with us – but you’re probably going to need an Apostle or Prophet to do it with you to help you clarify a strong vision and plan of action to reach people.
Jesus is the best Shepherd we have ever known – he cared for individual people really well, helped people experience healing, and was called “The Good Shepherd.”
TEACHERS – Interpret and Inform
Strengths of Teachers:
- Interpret the Scriptures in light of Jesus
- Inform the church of the truth and power of Jesus
- Enjoy gathering knowledge and passing on the truth of the Bible
- Highly motivated to pass on the truths of God across generations
- Challenge the church to stay faithful to the narrative of God in the Scriptures
- Cultivate a FORMING environment by helping the church experience formation in Jesus through the Bible, become life-long learners, and inhabit God’s missional story.
We desperately need healthy, passionate Teachers because without them we lose our sense of the wisdom of God in the Scriptures and will be less likely to experience Jesus speaking through the Bible.
If you have trouble studying the Bible, embracing Jesus as “the truth”, or hearing God speak to you through the Scriptures then you need to hang out with a Teacher – they will help you mature in this!
Shadows of Teachers:
- Taking risks can be difficult because they focus on the stability of knowledge
- Can value their relationship to Scripture over relationship with people
- Easily offended when their wisdom/insight is not wanted
- Bibliolotry occurs when they value Scripture over God
If you are a Teacher, we need you to start Missional Churches with us – but you’re probably going to need an Apostle or Evangelist to do it with you to help you get out of your head and into the lives of real people.
Jesus is the best Teacher we have ever known – he taught his disciples and others with both his words and his life, constantly communicated the wisdom of God, and was considered “the way, the truth, and the life.”