Discovering the Potential in all of your Sunday School/Small Group Members

But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. This is why it[a] says:

“When he ascended on high,
he took many captives
and gave gifts to his people.”[b]

(What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions? 10 He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.) 11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. (Ephesians 4:7-13 NIV)

One of the great challenges in our churches/Bible study groups is getting everyone involved in ministry. Part of the challenge is helping them understand their giftedness and roles in the church. There are several scholars who believe Ephesians 4 holds the key. Here is a description of the five-fold ministry and an online survey (At the bottom) to discover their roles. (Email me if you want a printed copy at

Teacher: (Jesus- Rabbi & one who taught with authority- Luke 4:32) One who grasps the truth, is excited by it, and holds it out for others to receive.

Enjoys: Reading & studying God’s Word and helping others understand the truth.

Teacher in everyday life- Lecturer, trainer, coach, demonstrator & teacher.

These are the persons you should mentor to teach.

Pastor: (Jesus as Good Shepherd- John 10:11 & I Peter 5:4) One who shepherds the people, cares with a tender heart, and sees the needs of others. One who confronts and encourages, longing to see Christians reach their full potential.

Enjoys: Seeing others grow, one to one conversation, hospitality & burdened by others’ problems.

Pastor in everyday life- Counselor, parent, social worker, nurse & life coach.

These are your care group leaders. (Email me if you need more.)

Evangelist: (Jesus- John 3,4) Bearer of Good News. Seeks out & loves to spend time with non-Christians, know Gospel & make relevant, and provoke other Christians and give them boldness.

Enjoys: Building relationships beyond church, sharing their point of view, and encouraging others to witness.

Evangelist in everyday life: Salesman, enthusiastic storyteller, journalist and (blogger).

These are the ones you encourage for outreach to the unchurched.

Prophet: (Jesus- Matthew 21: 12, 19, Matthew 24 & 25) One who hears & listens to God, foretelling & telling forth revelation from God, understand the time & what people should do, and provoke others to encounter God & listen to God.

Enjoys: Being alone with God, waiting & listening for God.

Prophet in everyday life: Visionaries, futurists, people who speak out their perceptions and often artistic types.

These are the ones who will speak a word about the culture and God’s Word as well as your artists and musicians that can help with the lesson.

Apostle: (Jesus- John 3:16-17, Hebrews 3:1) One who is sent out, visionary & pioneer, church planter, and one who provokes others to see vision and start a new thing.

Enjoys: Dreaming dreams and making them happen, strategizing

Apostle in everyday life: Entrepreneurs, explorers, and business minded people.

These are the ones who will start new ministry opportunities. Put them in charge of your outreach/mission projects in the community to dream with you about the possibilities.  

If we are to grow and reach new people, we need everyone doing their part.

About tonystopic

Seeker and connector to the abundant life as a husband (to Katrina), father (to Tara & Joseph) and Field Strategist/Sunday School Specialist for the Virginia Baptist Mission Board.
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