Perhaps the key thing that APEST shows us it that we are all wired with a particular bias: a gifting from God (crucially a gift to empower the church!). However, for the church to be healthy all 5 need to available to them.
What does it mean for me?
- Knowing your ‘base’ gift will help you find a sweet spot. For example, those of us with a teaching motivation will always be at our best when we’ve had some theological engagement and will often be at our most effective when we are somehow teaching others. Conversely, denying your base gift motivation for a long time will reduce your effectiveness in the church and risks us getting really de-energised, hence someone with a strong shepherd base gift can contribute in all sorts of ways but will ultimately need to be among people & ministering face to face in order to really thrive
- We all go through phases of having to engage in the other ministries. Doing this is may involve a degree of self denial BUT in doing so you are echoing Christ who embodies all 5 of the APEST traits. So, for example, a new Vicar with a strong teaching gift may find that they need to spend the first couple of years of their incumbency leading the church into evangelism and mission. Longer term they can delegate this out to people with a strong evangelistic motivation. (Interestingly, many with a teaching gift who find themselves in this position will often do evangelism, drawing on their teaching gift, i.e. they might find Alpha, Apologetics, and Guest services a really effective and life giving way to do mission).
- Whilst inevitably we all have favourites (!) a healthy church needs to have a balance of all 5 APEST characteristics. They do not all need to be delivered by the Vicar BUT the Vicar can be a ‘gatekeeper’ for this. Talk to an MSP for ideas on how you could do this for your congregation.
- The APEST gifts are all equipping gifts.. (Eph 4:12 – ‘to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up..’ ). With this in mind, ‘downloading’ or even ‘doing’ our ministry isn’t enough: our focus should be on and releasing equipping others (a big part of the Setting God’s People Free agenda). The biblical model is that this happens through a mix of teaching, modelling and creating opportunities/commissioning others to do ministry. Luke 10 is a great example: having been taught and having had the benefit of watching Jesus in action the 72 are now sent out to preach, minister healing, meet physical needs, and build bridges.
- Consider how you are ‘wired’. Talk to your spouse, a close friend, your Wardens or friends from Deanery about what the strengths of your gifting are and what the limitations are.
- Look at your church. Use the APEST grid to consider in what areas you are well resourced and where the needs are. Consider doing the APEST test with your SMDT or PCC. Use Sundays to speak & teach about the areas you are weak in.
- Talk to your homegroup leaders. Discuss the gaps – where do they see people with potential in some of the areas where the church might be struggling. What could we do to invest in, to encourage and to release those people?