1. Is it in the Bible?
2. What do we believe it means?
Some people have been given specific gifts by God, gifts which are "over" other believers. there are only "some" 5-fold ministers--most believers are not in "5-fold-ministry".
3. What does it really mean?
It is amazing how tradition makes us blind. Our experience makes us read the Bible in odd ways, and stress small words, taken out of context. By doing this we miss the true message the Word of God speaks.
This is a prime example. If you were to ask many people who believe they are "in " 5-fold-minsitry, about this ministry, they will likely turn to Ephesians chapter 4, and read from verse 11..
"there are some pastors--whose job it is to equip the saints"
the word "some " is what is stressed. the concept is that the Bible says, in ephesians 34, that only "some " believers have been given a "5-fold" ministry gift. Amazingly enough, this is the extent to which many "5-fold-ministers" have ever studied ministry from the Bible!
Perhaps we would better understand what 5-fold-minsitry is, if we read Ephesians 4 from verse 1!
1 ¶ I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you
that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,
2 ¶ With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;
3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;
5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism,
6 One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
7 But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.
8 Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.
9 (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?
10 He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)
11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: (Ephesians 4:1-13)
Read about these ministry gifts in context and it is clear that they are "given unto every one of us" what the Bible says about these ministry gifts is that god is in all of us and therefore can anoint us, enable us, to carry out these services (they are service--NOT authority over others!)
the greater truth is that these ministry gifts are a functional plan for working together as believers.
these ministries in different people, are meant to "edify the Body"--to build up" the body of Christ--meaning to add members to the church by furthering the gospel
In the small group meeting of the Biblical church, the prophetic gift released the apostolic gift. the new testament says this is the highest and first use of the gifts....
1 ¶ Now there were in the church that was at Antioch
certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was
called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been
brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.
2 As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.
3 And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.
4 ¶ So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus.
Teaching and pastoring are less important, "in church" ministries, whose purpose is also to equip and release believers to operate in their gifts,
the truth is that the "5-fold-ministry" is very very
important in God's plan--but it is NOT what many people believe
it to be!