Ask a participant to read Eph. 4.11-13.  Using a simplified version of the Four Stages diagram, ask the following:

  • Where do evangelists work most effectively?  Field 1 and Field 2
  • Where do pastors and teacher work most effectively?  Field 3 and Field 4

Where do apostles work?  Apostles want the Kingdom to spread and grow rapidly.  In the early stages of a movement, they work in all four fields.  Take Acts 1-2 for example:

  • In chapter 1, they were gathered in the Upper Room, spending a lot of time in prayer.  This was essentially the church gathering (Field 4).
  • In chapter 2, the Holy Spirit gave them utterance in several languages and they began speaking to people of many nationalities.  That is, they went out into the streets (Field 1) and began declaring "the wonderful works of God" followed by Peter proclaiming to those who scoffed (Field 2)
  • In 2.42 it says that the new believers "devoted themselves to the apostles' teacheng (Field 3)
  • A few verses later, the new disciples began gathering in homes (Field 4).

Thus, we see them working in all four stages to move people forward.

But what about the prophets?  They give warnings and seek to correct people's behaviour.  They to Kingdom to be pure and to honour God, so they will keep people from moving forward--or even move them backward--until they are walking with integrity.

  • 2 Kings 17.9-13 shows prophets declaring God's displeasure with their sin.
  • Zech. 1.4 is another example of the prophet warning
  • Matt 18.15-17, Jesus tells us that the rebellious sinner must be "sent back" from the church (Field 4) into the world (Field 1).  Note that Jesus is not saying to cast them out, but to treat them as a Gentile and a tax-gatherer.  Essentially, start over with them from the beginning.
  • Rev. 2.4-5, Jesus commands those who "lost their first love" to go back to where they have fallen.

In summary the apostle moves people forward (quantity) while the prophet moves people backward (quality).