The Bible calls the Church “The Body of Christ.” As in, you know, things like joints, feet, and ear lobes. Every follower of Jesus is a part and this body can’t grow unless we each play our part. That is why this winter and spring we are taking a deep dive into how we are built as followers of Jesus, and formed into a community or body as his church. Join us on Wednesday nights beginning January 16 for SENT, an 8-week APEST experience. Below are additional resources to prepare you for your SENT experience. Discerning our role in Jesus’ church is always a work in progress and is formed through the Holy Spirit’s leading, the confirmation of community, and through practice. Lots of practice. This page is designed to get you started.
Pray. Invite God to show you where you fit through a simple prayer like,
“Jesus, you know and love me more than anyone. So show me who I am and where I most fit. Turn me from my old ways and make me alive with your passion and purpose. Lead me to the people and places that most need your love.”
Something like that.
Join a Heartland community. To serve the body and love others as the body, you have to be connected to the body. There are many ways to jump in but if you’re wanting to dive deeper into your fit and role, check out our community experience: “SENT”
• Take this 10-15 minute assessment survey. This tool will help you know where you fit in Jesus’ body as either an apostle, prophet, evangelist, shepherd*, or teacher. A few key instructions and caveats:
• This tool is not magic nor foolproof but it can offer a helpful direction for you to pursue.
• This tool is not designed to box you into a corner and label you for life. We all go through different seasons and there are different things required of us. So sometimes we play different roles within the body - for the church’s best, the great needs around us, and so that we might grow to become more like him. So if you’ve taken this test before, take it again as a way to discern what new things God is doing in and through you.
• This test uses the term “pastor” instead of “shepherd”. We’ve chosen “shepherd” because we think it’s far more descriptive and because “pastor” sounds too...professional. Wouldn’t want you to think you have to quit your day job. In the greek it’s all the same but since it’s all greek to us, we choose shepherd.
• Don’t be hangry, tired, or rushed when you take this. Give yourself some time and space. Eat a donut. Then click this button.
BONUS: ask your closest friend and confidant to take this assessment FOR you. We each have blindspots. Some can be too hard on themselves and others can be their own biggest fan. So ask someone to love you well by taking it on your behalf. Then compare the two and see what gets confirmed and challenged.
Read up a bit. Listen a little. Join the convo.
• Read 5Q - a great resource on this topic by Alan Hirsch. It’s a little heady but something so important should be. CLICK HERE to learn more about this book.
• Check out our “Growing Up” series from last Fall HERE.
• We are loving this set of videos from our friends at Tampa Underground on the APEST gifts. If you are digging for more content, take a watch.
ONE: Ephesians 4:1-16, Brian Sanders via Tampa Underground
ONE: Prophet, Brian Sanders via Tampa Underground
ONE: Evangelist, Jeremy Stephens via Tampa Underground
ONE: Apostle, Brian Sanders via Tampa Underground
ONE: Teacher, Brian Sanders via Tampa Underground
ONE: Shepherd, Brian Sanders via Tampa Underground
One who takes new ground.
You might be an APOSTLE if you…
• Think big and continually have vision beyond what currently exists
• Seek adventure and run towards new and innovative opportunities
• Enjoy risk and face challenges with vigor, excitement and sense certainty
• Pioneer new things (you must blaze a trail and start the new)
• Naturally lead and influence through passion, confidence, and resolve
• Have an urgency about the future (you are aware and motivated by the needs of tomorrow)
One who hears, listens & offers revelation from God.
You might be a PROPHET if you…
• Find yourself intuiting what is going on behind a given situation or discerning spiritual realities in a situation or a community
• Have a way of hearing not just what people say, but seeing their underlying needs
• Have an ability at times to cut to the heart of the matter
• Care about hearing from God and responding to him (for you and others)
• Have a deep conviction for justice and an alignment to Truth
• Feel urgency in the moment when you receive a ‘now word’ revelation
• Experience a burden to pray for someone
One who shares good news.
You might be an EVANGELIST if you…
• Come alive having conversations with people far from God
• Have joy and are enthusiastic about God’s family growing bigger
• ‘Sell’ stuff (you have the engaging, unique qualities of a salesperson)
• Draw people in with engaging stories
• Connect easily (you are a relational connector)
• Talk a lot about the stuff you love most
• Train others to be evangelists too
• Are an exceptional recruiter
One who strengthens, encourages and comforts God's people.
You might be a SHEPHERD if you…
• Enjoy one-on-one conversations and showing hospitality
• Are burdened by others’ difficulties and have a knack for speaking truth and love into those situations
• Are a good listener (easy to talk to and a safe place for others to share their inner feelings, thoughts and challenges)
• Have compassion for those who are lost, lonely, broken, injured or in need acceptance and belonging
One who unlocks truth for others.
You might be a TEACHER if you…
• Love experiences where you get to learn
• Are curious, ask a lot of questions and love understanding how things work
• Own a lot of books and can’t get to them all
• Get excited about the truth and want that it to be transformative in people’s lives
• Love inspiring quotations
• Get jazzed around the question, ‘what are you learning?’
• Enjoy assignments
• Cherish clarity
• Dig researching things
• Re-write someone else’s talk in your head
• Go to Dictionary.com or Bible Gateway like some do Candy Crush
• Play Scrabble or other word games because words are a big deal to you
• Think in metaphors and constantly translate things for others, often saying things like, ‘It’s like…’ or ‘Think of it this way…’
• Have a unique ability to take a large volume of information and organize it in a way that people can understand