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The Role of APEST in the 21st Century Church

Research Paper

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Students will write an 8 to 10 page (not including title page or bibliography) research paper about the role of APEST in the 21st Century Church. In the research paper, the student will address three questions

1. What disciplines are essential for spiritual growth?

2. What does Scripture and current research say about the role of apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds, and teachers in church multiplication?

3. How do these insights impact the future of the Church?

Refer to the grading rubrics found in the Essential Materials File. All papers must conform to the Notes-Bibliography system of the Chicago Manual of Style.

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The Role of APEST in the 21st Century Church

Ephesians 4 provides, essentially, the blueprint of the APEST model of Jesus' ministry. Over time, there have been more focus on some aspects and less focus on others even though all five roles have been present throughout the centuries.

This renewed emphasis on these five roles has caused somewhat of a paradigm shift in current approaches to ministry, evangelism, and church administration.

1. What disciplines are essential for spiritual growth?

Practising spiritual disciplines is not essentially about modifying behaviour as it is about modifying one's heart. The transformation is not about behaviour alone but about the transformation of one's entire life. The transformation of behaviour occurs after full transformation takes place.

True discipleship is accomplished by following the discipleship of Jesus Christ. Jesus was not for just the people of the New Testament, 2,000 years ago. He is for everyone of every time period. Likewise, the spiritual disciplines are for all people of every time period.

The spiritual disciplines are meant to turn the believer's heart toward God so that he or she may deepen his or her relationship with Him through the disciplines. In this way, the disciplines are a tool to facilitate the strengthening of the relationship.

The spiritual disciplines are not to be regarded as having an end result. They provide a relational space for one with God. The believer is then in a position to surrender to the Divine Will in his or her lives. The believer will also have a better understanding of yielding to the sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit.

Reference:
Geiger, Eric, Michael Kelley, and Philip Nation. (2012). Transformational Discipleship: How People Really Grow. Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing Group.

An example of this spiritual growth is described in Jeremiah 17:7-8.

Richard Foster identifies the following "12 crucial spiritual disciplines." He has categorized them into sections: inward, outward, and corporate practices.

Source:
Foster, Richard. (2002). Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth. San Francisco, Harper. 3rd Edition.

The Disciplines of Personal Development (Inward)
--Prayer
This is communicating with God as in Matthew 6:9

--Meditation
This is focusing on God and His Will as in Philippians 4:8

--Fasting
This is to remind you of the source of all of your nourishment as in Luke 5:35

--Study
This is not only reading the Bible and memorizing Scripture, but is careful attention to the reality that God reveals to us (especially through the Scripture) as in Luke 2:46

Some sources will outline "reading the Bible" and "Scripture memorization" as separate spiritual disciplines which is not incorrect.

The Disciplines of Service to the Body of Christ (Outward)
--Simplicity
Seek God's Kingdom first in your life as in Matthew 6:33

--Submission
Place God's will above your own as in Luke 22:42

--Solitude
Withdraw yourself from the world to spend time with God as in Matthew 14:23

--Service
Be supportive to others in, not only words, but in action as in ...

Solution Summary

This solution will assist the student in understanding the roles apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds, and teachers have on the future of the Christian Church. The solution will also provide the disciplines that are essential for spiritual growth and supporting Scripture for the expansion of the Church.

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