The teachers love the truth and making sure that people grasp it. In the church they love the Bible and studying and learning, and inspire others to do the same. In the workplace they’ll be coaching, teaching, training, and developing. Apollos was clearly a significant teacher in the New Testament.
Evangelists share good news and are good news! In church the evangelists are often frustrated because there are not enough non-Christians around, and as far as they are concerned the church needs to get out there more! They naturally end up in conversations with people about the good news, because like a sales rep or PR person they are passionate about what they believe in. Philip and Steven were evangelists. And it could certainly be argued that the Samaritan woman in John 4:29, who called out after her encounter with Jesus, “Come see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?” was an evangelist too.
Pastors care for, nurture, and protect others; they value hospitality and time with people. They’re great listeners. The pastor in the church is not limited to the pastor of the church. There are loads of professions with a pastoral emphasis—counselors, nurses, and the caring professions. Who were the pastoral types in the Bible? The oikos leaders, perhaps: people like Barnabas, who was known as the Son of Encouragement.
What about you? Do you see yourself operating in any of these roles?
Determine Your Calling
This brief introduction to the roles in Ephesians 4 only gives a basic framework. It’s just to get you to start thinking about how the Lord has wired you. You’ll see all of these roles in your life at some point; we’re not one-dimensional characters who can be simply labeled! Nor is it an excuse to avoid witnessing by saying, “I’m not an evangelist,” or caring for others because “I’m not a pastor.” Jesus exemplified all of these roles in his life and ministry, and it’s him we imitate. However, when you reflect upon your life, you may see one of these functions is more visible, more often, than others. It’s as though you just keep coming back to it, as though it’s your place in his body. When our then-church-leader Mike Breen unpacked Ephesians 4 with our church, it released hundreds of men and women to rediscover who God has designed them to be and understand what that could look like practically. It was incredibly empowering.