To begin, a paradox:
God created each and every living thing, including every human being (e.g. Psalm 139); and,
God created all living things to be reproducing, self-sustaining species, to be fruitful and increase in number (Genesis 1).
Every human being carries the code of life; a code expressed in them in a unique way; a code which can combine with the code carried in a corresponding other to create a new and unique life.
All but wipe out humanity, and we would begin again, according to God’s blueprint. All but wipe out the Church, and she would grow again, according to Jesus’ distribution of his likeness through humanity.
Every human being is at a fundamental level created an apostle, a prophet, an evangelist, a shepherd or a teacher (abbreviation APEST; Ephesians 4); made to be a pioneer, a visionary, a recruiter, a nurturer or a trainer; as we share in the family likeness that is carried and perfectly expressed by Jesus, the one who has also liberated, and is liberating, his brothers and sisters.
Every human being carries the potential to be an apostle, a prophet, an evangelist, a shepherd or a teacher within them.
This coded matrix (APEST) configures in patterns that nuance the way in which we express the image of God; how, as we acknowledge him, we express the likeness of Christ – and this ‘nature’ combines in turn with ‘nurture,’ with the particular life experiences we live through, and the community contexts we are found in (for the person only exists in relation to other persons), to further flesh-out what Jesus-in-us (both personally and communally) looks like in the world. In other words APEST is not merely a question of role (whether ‘in the church’ or ‘in the world’) but is core, in ways that we have yet to significantly explore, to person-ality and preference.*
And this potential is passed on, combined with another code, to create new persons. So, I am a P who is significantly nuanced by A, and to lesser degrees by T, S and E; married to a S who is significantly nuanced by P, and to lesser degrees by T, A and E. We have three children, still too young to know with any degree of certainty what they have been created to be – it could be any of the five, in any combination and variance of degrees, as we, as parents, carry and pass on the full potential – but we have the privilege of helping them discover and grow-into what Jesus has given them as, and for...
*I would love to see more mapping of APEST combinations against MBTI combinations.