And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations,
varieties of tongues.
1 Corinthians 12:28
Each and every believer has been gifted by God to fulfill his or her calling
and purpose. For some, their gifts will place them in a visible ministry; others are gifted for "behind-the-scenes" ministries. No gift makes anyone more important than anyone else. We are all equal in Christ—equally loved by God and equally necessary to the Body of Christ.
And yet, as we have seen, certain offices within the Church are designated by God as being higher in rank than others. The reason for this is that someone has to be first; someone has to be a pioneer.
What 1 Corinthians 12:28 tells us is that the Church should be first and foremost apostolic. This is the divine order of ministry given to the Church. There is a wisdom behind this order. It is not to elevate men or exalt the flesh. God has a purpose in everything He does.
A Divine Order
Each of the gifts has a certain function that operates best in divine order. When the Church neglects this order, it will not be able to progress toward the
goal of fulfilling its commission.
When things are out of order, the result is disorder and confusion. The
anointing and power of God flow through order. The anointing flowed from Aaron's head, to his beard, to the skirts of his garments (see Ps. 133:2).
The head represents authority. Order is always based on authority. Again, the authority of the Church should be first apostolic, second prophetic, third teaching. The amount of authority we operate in is based on this order. The flow of the anointing is based on this order. Our ability to fulfill the Great Commission is based on this order.
The apostolic prepares and opens the way for the prophetic. The prophetic in turn prepares and opens the way for the teaching. Each one precedes and paves the way for the other. Each gift and ministry is designed by God in this way to open the way for the other to follow. Each territory needs all three to operate in order to establish God's purposes in that region.
Evangelism and pastoring are utilized as ways of reaching and overseeing the people. These gifts are important and necessary to perfect the saints and help fulfill the Great Commission. If the Church is apostolic, it will also be evangelistic in order to reach the lost; it will also be pastoral to protect and cover those who are saved. The apostolic cannot function without these two gifts and the others as well.