• Dr. Timothy X. Merritt

The Five-Fold Ministry

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The Permanent Revolution by Alan Hirsch and Tim Catchim


Is your church heading in the right direction?


Mind-mapping is an exercise to gather information about emerging trends. Using the STEEPLE Analysis criterion as a guide, a review of recently published articles related to trends affecting churches was conducted.


The Bad News :

  • Supporting this top ten ranking are several articles related to demographics, aging, intergenerational communication and to a mixed degree, the demographics of migration.

  • Church financial health and Church size offered both positive and negative aspects of their trends; but the negative aspects also seemed to contribute to the decline in church attendance.

  • The most significant concern by far was the perception that Church attendance in North America is declining sharply. Let’s take a look at the numbers:

Graphic image showing decline in church attendance represents; Missionary Training Center, Missionaries, Missionary support, and the Five-Fold Ministry
Are Elements of the Five-Fold Ministry Driving this Trend?

In The Permanent Revolution, authors Alan Hirsch and Tim Catchim propose a fresh look at modern church operation through the lens of Ephesians 4:7-13 which builds on the Apostle Paul’s counsel about the ideal organizational structure of the early church. Through grace Christ apportioned the following gifts (and subsequent roles) to the ministry leadership; apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds (pastors) and teachers. This is the Five-Fold Ministry.


The authors argue that modern western churched have come to focus almost exclusively on pastors and teachers, with a small, detached group involved in evangelism. In their view, the roles of apostle and prophet are now almost completely overlooked. They attribute this fact to the falling numbers we are seeing in North American church attendance.


It’s a fascinating premise. The Permanent Revolution provides an ideal starting place for Church Consultants to begin analyzing the dynamics of a ministry.



Dr. Merritt Reviews The Permanent Revolution. Ideal for Missionaries, Missionary Training, and Ministry. Discusses the Five-fold Ministry.


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