So You Think You’re a Prophet?

Ever have to take one of those personality assessment tests for work? I have had to take a bunch of them. I have learned that I am a “Hawk/Owl,” a “Strategic Thinker,” and a “huggable bear who might eat you.” Some people don’t like labels, and others like them too much. I’ve come to the realization that it is best to have some idea of what is inside the can before you open it.

I was recently asked to take another personality profile test. It is based on the Biblical leadership gifts found in Ephesians 4. It is called the APEST Test.

Here is what they say about it on their website:

APEST is a ministry assessment emerging from the most comprehensive statement of ministry structure, that of Ephesians 4:7,11-12. Within this passage we find the fivefold ministry of APEST: apostolic, prophetic, evangelist, shepherd and teacher; But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned It is he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be shepherd and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up.

All five ministries are needed to engender, call forth, and sustain a full ministry in the Jesus movement. In fact, all five ministries in dynamic relation to one another are absolutely essential to vigorous discipleship, healthy churches and growing movements. Ephesians 4:7,11-12 assigns APEST ministries to the entire church, not just leadership. All are to be found somewhere in APEST a leadership model characterized by a servant-inspired dynamic. (

I’ve taken a lot of these tests, and for the most part I think they are fun. It is interesting to think about my strengths and tendencies. This one is different because you not only take it yourself, but you invite people who know you to also take it on your behalf. People who are in your life and have experienced how you lead in your ministry.

When I took the test for myself, these were my results:

Prophetic 29
Evangelistic 27
Apostolic 25
Shepherding 14
Teaching 13

Prophetic + Evangelistic
The Prophet Evangelist is a person who is committed to God and his mission to redeem all people. Sometimes quite confrontational and direct, they can find it hard to lead others. Compromise is not an option; the PE relies on persuasive skills to get people to respond. The Prophet Evangelist’s motivation is that all people become active agents of change and mission.

And then when seven of my closest friends and co-workers took the test on my behalf, the results were a bit different:

Apostolic 31
Prophetic 28
Evangelistic 25
Teaching 21
Shepherding 17

Apostolic + Prophetic
The Apostle Prophet is motivated to engage in great causes – no matter where it may take them. The AP is one who knows what needs to be done, and will mobilize others to engage in mission. The AP is not the most politically sensitive type and can put people off. Their sense of urgency and vision makes up for their lack of political savvy. The nature of the AP is to see the world through a relative black ad white mentality. The motivation of the Apostle Prophet is to further the message of God’s kingdom through an urgency of the immediate tasks and large strategies.

Basically the way they see the five ministry types is like this:

APOSTLES extend the gospel. As the “sent ones,” they ensure that the faith is transmitted from one context to another and from one generation to the next. They are always thinking about the future, bridging barriers, establishing the church in new contexts, developing leaders, networking trans-locally. Yes, if you focus solely on initiating new ideas and rapid expansion, you can leave people and organizations wounded. The shepherding and teaching functions are needed to ensure people are cared for rather than simply used.

PROPHETS know God’s will. They are particularly attuned to God and his truth for today. They bring correction and challenge the dominant assumptions we inherit from the culture. They insist that the community obey what God has commanded. They question the status quo. Without the other types of leaders in place, prophets can become belligerent activists or, paradoxically, disengage from the imperfection of reality and become other-worldly.

EVANGELISTS recruit. These infectious communicators of the gospel message recruit others to the cause. They call for a personal response to God’s redemption in Christ, and also draw believers to engage the wider mission, growing the church. Evangelists can be so focused on reaching those outside the church that maturing and strengthening those inside is neglected.

SHEPHERDS nurture and protect. Caregivers of the community, they focus on the protection and spiritual maturity of God’s flock, cultivating a loving and spiritually mature network of relationships, making and developing disciples. Shepherds can value stability to the detriment of the mission. They may also foster an unhealthy dependence between the church and themselves.

TEACHERS understand and explain. Communicators of God’s truth and wisdom, they help others remain biblically grounded to better discern God’s will, guiding others toward wisdom, helping the community remain faithful to Christ’s word, and constructing a transferable doctrine. Without the input of the other functions, teachers can fall into dogmatism or dry intellectualism. They may fail to see the personal or missional aspects of the church’s ministry.

So, I saw myself primarily as a “truth-telling jerk who tries to talk people into things” and my friends thought that I was actually an “awesome truth-telling jerk.”

At least that’s what I see, maybe you see something else.