It is my contention that apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds, and teachers are to be found distributed within our church congregations and parish communities. Indeed, as I have written elsewhere, everyone is included in this mix. Of course, the distribution is not even—a healthy interaction between renewal and stability needs fewer APEs than STs—and it may be that in our smallest congregations not all five types of people are present. As a church seeking to equip and release the whole Body of Christ, in some places the Church of England might need to think more creatively at the Deanery (a grouping of parishes; a larger pool) level (and, indeed, is doing so in places). Moreover, some people are called to live out their vocation at a very localised level, others with wider influence: in each case, a person is given the needful proportion of gifting. So, it is easy to miss the apostles, prophets, evangelists, (and even, though more familiar) shepherds and teachers even where they are present in our most localised communities, especially if the picture we hold of these people-types is shaped by higher-profile examples.
With this in mind, I thought I’d write a short series of posts on identifying APEST gifting at the local level.