There’s more than one way to plant a church, and a lot of that is determined by the giftedness and calling of the leader. This week we’ll be looking at the five different types of church leaders—Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Shepherd, Teacher—and what each of them means for church planting.
“It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers” (Ephesians 4:11)
A Prophet is one who hears and speaks a specific word from God to a distinct person or persons. Prophets know God’s will. They are particularly attuned to God and his truth for today. They bring correction and challenge the dominant assumptions we inherit from the culture. They insist that the community obey what God has commanded. They question the status quo. Without the other types of leaders in place, prophets can become belligerent activists or, paradoxically, disengage from the imperfection of reality and become other-worldly. (Note: This definition is a composite drawn from Beyond Church Planting by Robert E. Logan and Neil Cole and from The Forgotten Ways by Alan Hirsch.)
Generally speaking, planters who are Prophets are better suited for a “start and go” approach. The more toward the prophetic side you are, the more you need to think through a strategy that raises up other leaders. If you do stay on in a prophetic role, find someone with other gifts to stay on with you to manage the church and keep you grounded.
If you want to find your own leanings and where you fall on this continuum, take the APEST online self-assessment inventory.