Mobilization could be defined as “providing all that is needed for God’s people to become meaningfully involved in the world Christian movement.”
With this broad definition we acknowledge the need for the involvement of all the fivefold ministries listed in Ephesians 4:11. Paul is very specific here. He says, these ministries, gifted to the Church by the risen Lord, are for the equipping of God’s people for works of service (13). The works of service, as we have already discussed, relates to the world Christian movement. We could say that these fivefold ministries serve IN the church to equip God’s people to do the work OF the church.
The ministries listed in Ephesians 4, in context, don’t only do the work their titles suggest, they also equip others to do the work of the ministry. In general terms, Apostles focus on reaching unreached peoples and they equip others to do the same, Prophets articulate a clear understanding of God’s purpose, inspire and challenge for involvement and equip others to do the same, Evangelists evangelize unsaved people and they equip others to do the same, Pastors nurture God’s people and equip others to do the same, Teachers teach and explain the word of God, they also equip others to do the same!
There is a threefold responsibility here. Teachers, for example, firstly teach, secondly they equip others to teach and thirdly, and very importantly, they identify others who are called to be Teachers and assist in their development as Teachers. Everyone can be trained to teach but not all are Teachers (1Co 12:29). Only Teachers can identify and equip other Teachers – this is the law of reproduction – we produce after our own kind (Ge 1:12)
Alfred Barnes in his Commentary on Genesis 1:12 states the following:
After its kind. – This phrase intimates that like produces like, and therefore that the “kinds” or species are fixed, and do not run into one another. In this little phrase the theory of one species being developed from another is denied.
All the other fivefold ministry gifts function the same way – Prophets are no exception! This is why the need to see the development of the ‘tribe of mobilizers’ is so urgent. Not only do Prophets equip others to communicate God’s global purpose but they also identify others who are ‘called’ to be Prophets and assist in their development.
If Mobilization could indeed be defined as “providing all that is needed for God’s people to be meaningfully involved in the world Christian movement” then, for sure, the entire fivefold ministries are needed. The greatest tragedy however is the absence of the Prophet (the lost tribe). The Prophet identifies the purpose and explains the journey. The Prophet articulates God’s Story – without this understanding God’s people get caught up with ‘their own story’! Hosea the Prophet identified the essence of Israel’s downfall, “Israel was a spreading vine; he brought forth fruit for himself.” Hos 10:1
It doesn’t take a gifted Prophet to see that the Church, in general, as wondering aimlessly, struggling to discover her true identity and essential reason for her existence on earth. As a result she has turned inward, focused on herself, become self-absorbed and as a result her message to the world has become weak, distorted and unattractive!
Just imagine the contribution a ‘tribe of Prophets’ could make – steering the Church towards participation in discipling all nations (Mt 28:18-20) and ensuring that the Church in all reached nations becomes a true witness and testimony to their own people (Mt 24:14)!