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July 27, 2017

Applying APEST to Church Planting and Organizations

By Daniel Im

Our Q&A Webinars are a monthly segment designed for Plus Members to hear from leading experts in church planting, multisite, leadership, and multiplication. For this month’s segment, I talk with Alan Hirsch. Alan shares his insight on APEST that he wrote about in his new book, 5Q.

Defining APEST

Younger generations seem to communicate through slang terms and abbreviations on a day-to-day basis. Someone might say a five letter strung together word, and you’re expected to know that it is the hip, new way to say “cool.” Ironically, we sometimes speak in abbreviations to explain constructs found in the Bible.

APEST is commonly referred to as the fivefold quotient that lies within God’s people. APEST stands for Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Shepherd, and Teacher.

The APEST functions are not just found in the church. They actually precede the church. If you look at the archetypes of heroes that embody values and mythic stories, the fivefold is seen there. According to Alan Hirsch, understanding the APEST has huge implications on how we understand the world outside of Jesus and see organizations. These archetypes are the fingerprint of God. The body of Christ has a fivefold function at its root.

Applying APEST to Church Planting

According to Alan, in order to be a mature missional movement, we need to have all five of the functions of a church to be healthy. Planters must start to view APEST through the lens of planting a movement, not just planting a church. After all, by starting with a movement mentality, a church is more likely to be successful.

To read the remainder of the article, and to watch the full video, click here.

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  • We all are called to serve the mission of the church. Every church is meant to be apostolic, prophetic, evangelistic, shepherding, and teaching.
  • Every church is meant to have the five functions, and church planters need to keep their eyes on each of the missional functions.
  • There are many ways to structure your church. Start by developing your team.
  • In order to be a mature missional movement, we need to have all five of the functions of a church to be healthy.

Additional Resources: 


Daniel Im

Daniel Im (@danielsangi) is the Director of Church Multiplication for NewChurches.com at LifeWay Christian Resources. He is a Teaching Pastor at The Fellowship, a multisite church in Nashville. He is the author of No Silver Bullets: Five Small Shifts that will Transform Your Ministry, and co-author of Planting Missional Churches: Your Guide to Starting Churches that Multiply (2nd ed) with Ed Stetzer. He also co-hosts the New Churches Q&A Podcast, the 5 Leadership Questions Podcast, and a brand new podcast with his wife on marriage and parenting called the IMbetween Podcast. He has an M.A. in Global Leadership and has served and pastored in church plants and multisite churches ranging from 100 people to 50,000 people in Vancouver, Ottawa, Montreal, Korea, Edmonton, and Nashville. Visit Danielim.com to learn more.


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