The above picture shows a helpful comparison between the Fivefold Ministries to the key functions in film making. Here I have used the example of the Hobbit film series.
The Apostle can be likened to the writer, in this case J.R.R. Tokien, who sees the unseeable and creates something quite new in his imagination. Tolkien literally created a new world (Middle Eath) with new inhabitants (Hobbits, Elves, Dwarves and Orcs) and new languages (Elvish and Dwarvish) in amazing detail. Apostles are the spiritual entrepreneurs, the eyes that see new things that need bringing to life.
The Prophet is like the film producer, Fran Walsh in the case of the Hobbit, who creates momentum in fulfilling the writer’s vision through Christ focused questions. For the Hobbit movie she asked the probing question of why no female charactes were present and, to the horror of Hobbit purists, added in Galadriel and Tauriel. Prophets will stir things up and be provocateurs in stirring the hearts of people to get behind the vision. As a producer’s main role is to garner resources to make the vision a reality so the prophets seek to release God’s Kingdom resources by speaking God’s “now” word to the Church. They are the ears that hear God’s directives and will make sure these words get to the people’s ears.
The Evangelist is like the Casting Director, Liz Mullane in the case of the Hobbit, who creates moments of invitation for the right people to get involved. Liz got whole farming communities and entire classes of university students in New Zealand involved in being Elves or other inhabitants of Middle earth for the Hobbit movies. The Evangelists are the arms that reach out far and wide to recruit newcomers into God’s Kingdom adventure.
The Pastor is akin to the Director of the movie, Peter Jackson in this example. Peter is the main “face” we’re aware of when we think of the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies, but had a huge team working alongside him. Just as the Director turns the understanding of the cast into meaningful engagement so the Pastor comes alongside the saints to encourage them to give their best for God’s Kingdom. Peter Jackson would often embrace the cast and jump into their place to show them how to act a certain scene. The Pastor is the heart that embraces and releases others to give their best for God. He is the interpreter who shows others from his own life how to walk the road before them.
Lastly, but not leastly, the Teacher is like the film Editor, Jabez Olssen in the case of the Hobbit films, who systematizes all other focuses. The Editor brings everything together into an understandable unity. Jabez spent hours in the background working on his computer to edit together all the pieces and came up with an awe inspiring end product. Teachers will spend hours, days, months, unseen, digging deep into God’s Word and bringing truths together that can be presented to give understanding to the people. They are the mind that works hard to let the Church know the truth. They are integrators who bring together all the disparate views of the other leaders into a unified whole.
The modern day use of “Pastor” is very misleading and the person who is called by that title may actually be an Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist or Teacher rather than a Pastor in the Biblical sense. Ideally, all five leader types should be present in a church to provide the full God-given support, help and guidance needed. I believe that God will provide all five to every local church but not all are fully released due to a variety of reasons. Some may be full time, employed by the Church, but others may be lay leaders, called to plug into leadership gaps.
This is an except of my forthcoming book, "Painting the Picture".