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 Shepherd is one who has an overwhelming concern for the continuing care of a specific community. Shepherds nurture and protect. Caregivers of the community, they focus on the protection and spiritual maturity of God’s flock, cultivating a loving and spiritually mature network of relationships, making and developing disciples. Shepherds can value stability to the detriment of the mission. They may also foster an unhealthy dependence between the church and themselves. (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.)
Shepherds do very well with staying on once a church has started, although they may have a harder time getting it off the ground to begin with, unless they are very well-resourced. If you’re more toward the shepherding end of the continuum (as most professional pastors are), you’re going to need more of a team to help you start and grow the church. You’ll also need to occasional Apostolic, Prophetic or Evangelistic voice to keep your church growing and outward-focused.
If you want to find your own leanings and where you fall on this continuum, take the APEST online self-assessment inventory.