In Ephesians 4:11 Paul says that Christ, the Head of the Body, has given four categories of gifts to the Body: apostles, prophets, evangelists, and shepherds and teachers. These gifts are raised up by the Head and given by Him to the Body.
They are not produced in a human way by education, selection, or ordination. Rather, among the saints who love the Lord and seek Him, some are gradually manifested to be evangelists, prophets, or teachers. They are produced by their manifestation in their Christian life and living.
For example, in chapter seven Stephen was manifested to be a great teacher, and in chapter eight Philip was manifested to be an evangelist. Then in chapter nine Paul was manifested first as an evangelist and then as a teacher. However, when he was in the church in Antioch, he was not carrying out an evangelical work but was doing a teaching work.
Acts 11:26 says that he and Barnabas “were gathered in the church and taught a considerable number.” This indicates that both Barnabas and Saul were teachers. Perhaps the other three named in 13:1—Niger, Lucius, and Manean—were prophets. Paul, of course, also had the gift of preaching, but in Antioch he functioned as a teacher.
The five mentioned in 13:1 were not produced as gifts in a human way. On the contrary, they were produced by their gradual manifestation among the saints. Eventually, the saints recognized that these ones had certain gifts. Then by their gifts they became gifted persons.
The Organic Way Of The Body
In the Lord’s recovery today we should follow the pattern in Acts 13 not to have a human way of producing preachers. We do not take the way of human selection or organization. Instead, we look to the Lord that He would produce something out from His Body.
The way we take is not organization—it is organic. If some brothers and sisters serve the Lord full time, this should be done not in the way of organization, but in the organic way of the Body.
Recently, hundreds of saints in Taipei consecrated themselves to serve the Lord full time. We told these saints that we do not follow the way of organization. Our way in the Lord’s recovery is organic; it is the way of life.
What matters is how the saints grow in the Lord and how the divine life develops within them to produce a certain ability for functioning. This is the organic way based on the growth and development of the divine life within us. We all need to see this.
Concerning Full-Time Workers
For the Lord’s move in carrying out His recovery today, there is the need for a good number of full-time workers. This is especially true in the United States.
In this country there may be as many as nearly one hundred churches, but we do not have enough full-time workers to meet the need. The Lord’s move has been severely restricted by this shortage. There certainly is the need for full-time workers.
How will the needed full-time workers be produced? Certainly not by the way of human selection. Rather, they will be produced through the saints growing in life and then being manifested according to what they are. Then certain ones will be led of the Lord to serve Him full time, and they will take His leading by faith.
Those who follow the Lord in this way should not be concerned about their living expenses. They should simply leave this with the Lord. Moreover, they should not care for position, rank, or title. They should be concerned only for the Lord’s move and desire to be in His move.