5Q: Answers to a Decade (or more) of My Organizational Questions

disclosure statement: I was given a copy of this book, 5Q, by Alan Hirsch to give an honest review of it.

It’s 5:30 in the morning and I can’t put this thing down. I’ve planted a church and started a business in Taiwan, a culture which has traditionally been more resistant to the gospel’s work, with around 3% of 23,000,000 people professing faith in Christ. There have been successes in our ministry. Just a few days ago we were recounting what God’s done and noted that 34 people have been baptized since 2012.  and I’ll be one of the first to admit I often feel I have no idea what I’m doing. The reason I couldn’t put this book down is because Hirsch is putting into words feelings I’ve had for nearly a decade (which is a lifetime for a millennial). The premise of Hirsch’s latest work is that Jesus Christ has already given us a blueprint for what leadership, mission, evangelism, care and teaching should look like and how it’s done. He’s calling us to allow the latent seeds of the fivefold gifts, also referred to as APEST or 5Q, Christ gave the church to begin to grow again. APEST, or apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers, are five different gifts or ministries that Christ placed in the church as a result of his ascension (Ephesians 4:1-16). He writes, “In it’s simplest form, 5Q is the synergy of a holistic recombination of the apostolic, prophetic, evangelistic, shepherding and teaching (APEST) capacities referred to in Ephesians.” These gifts were given so that we could minister as the body of Christ and ultimately attain to the fullness of Christ. But Hirsch argues the archetypal evidence of APEST predates the establishment of the church and is actually part of the prevenient grace that God established when He created the world. Essentially, understanding and utilizing the fivefold is THE KEY to healthy, thriving organizations across the board whether in business, church or elsewhere.

By understanding 5Q, we are able to assess the health and capacity of our organizations, churches and businesses included. Hirsch traces biblical foundations, primordial forms and archetypes and ultimately the life of Jesus as the architect and builder of 5Q. Jesus shows us that the patterns of 5Q can be used to understand and assess His ministry as well as his commandments to the church. He outlines the fivefold functionality of the church and society at large. In utilizing 5Q, we have a clear trajectory for how to impart, empower and deploy the greatest move of God the world has ever seen! Hirsch gives numerous accounts of how utilizing 5Q in our organizations will invariably lead to transformation on all levels of society.

Here are some of my favorite quotes:

  1. It is not coincidental that this breakthrough has come at a time in my life when my spiritual life has never been better–I am experiencing God in a whole new dimension. I find myself spending whole days in prayer and meditation. My prayer life is rich to the point of overflow. In a real way, I believe that 5Q has played a significant role in this sense of overflow. 5Q feels both personal to me, but I also feel its universal significance.
  2. If you want transformational gospel movement–really want it–then you are going to have to unlearn some very ancient churchly habits and be willing to relearn some new–and yet paradoxically more ancient–more authentically biblical ones. You’re a leader; I speak to you as a leader responsible for your generation.
  3. In fact, I hope to show, fivefold-thinking (5Q) reaches into our deepest instincts for ministry by reconnecting the ministry of Christ with the Body of Christ.
  4. Jesus “gave” APEST to the church, distributing it among all the people as he sees fit. It is vital that you, the reader, feel the weight of the grammar that Paul uses to talk about the constitutional givenness of the APEST ministries to the church. The verb form used for “given” (Gk. edothe, the aorist indicative form of didomi) is an aorist indicative, a very resolute verb form perfectly suited for use in constitutions. This is because aorists reflect actions that took place in the past and as such they are once-and-for-all-time events. The effects of the past event are still felt in the present. They are historic in a similar way that the signing of the Declaration of Independence was historic—it will impact America’s self-understanding for all time…Jesus is actually present in the church, and by which he extends his own ministry through us.
  5. Because they operate within a system, each individual APEST function enriches, counterbalances, and “corrects” the particular bias of each of the others.
  6. The good news is that all five functions/callings are like seeds latent in the system. They are already there by virtue of the defining Word of God. This is a liberating idea—all the potential for a tree is actually already in the seed; we don’t need to mess much with that. What we need to do is simply focus on the environment that will allow the seed to flourish.
  7. [M]issional movements are essentially a recovery of the apostolic impulse; prayer and justice movements are manifestations of the prophetic impulse; revivals are an aspect of evangelistic; community and charismatic renewal is a recovery of the pastoral ministry; and theological renewals are largely related to a rediscovery of some lost motif in Scripture.
  8. It is this relationship between high internal resonance and explicit social patterning that this chapter seeks to address. The idea here will be to try to connect the resonance that you should feel in regards to APEST functions and callings with the community in which you are called to express faith.
  9. Giving the answer is always easier than teaching the process…I often say to leaders that we can change our structures in four to eight months, but it takes four to eight years to change our culture.
  10. We see the five marks of the church defined by APEST as follows: missional impact (A), covenant faithfulness (P), gospel proclamation (E), reconciled community (S), deep wisdom (T).

Near the end of the book, Hirsch quotes Peter Berger who notes, “Ideas do not succeed in history by virtue of their truth but by virtue of their relationship to specific social processes,” and as such we are called not only to revel in fun ideas, but to actually begin applying them. Thus, my personal plan to 5Q implementation: do it. In all seriousness, I am indebted to Hirsch and the rest of his team for packaging a biblical, theological treatise on 5Q. For me and my team, we typically think about church in three terms: personal growth, community growth, and missional growth. These are the outworking of pondering Jesus’ Great Commandment (love God, love others) and Great Commission (make disciples in the world). If we are affect the cultural fabric of society, speak truth to power and life to dry bones, plant the seeds of the good news and win souls for Christ, gather God’s sons and daughters, and ensure God’s Truth is passed on correctly, we are in desperate need of 5Q thinking, systems and action. APEST provides an excellent framework, aspects of which we are already integrating. We speak cultural transformation (A), share the good news regularly (E), and teach truth (T), but I have seen how we can and must grow in all areas of APEST and I’m confident with teaching and tools outlined in this book, we are already on the right path.

I would encourage you to pick up a copy of this book and check out additional resources online. The diagrams offered are more than worth the price of admission. Hirsch will offer insights into the fivefold ministry that will shape your ongoing business and ministry endeavors.


Real Prophecy 如何分別預言

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I recently spoke a little on the source and role of prophecy. Here are a few more thoughts on discerning prophecies you receive. I welcome further questions!

  • True Prophecy is a gift of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:4-11). But we can also hear from our own spirit, evil spirits, and angels. It’s important to know which one you are hearing. This is why being humble and saying things like “I believe God is saying” or “I feel” are ways of allowing space to be wrong as you’re learning and growing in the gift of prophecy.
  • The purpose of the gifts is love (1 Corinthians 13). Prophecy should come from a place of knowing God’s heart and revealing that to others (1 Corinthians 14:31). The goal is restored relationships (Malachi 4:5-6). Prophecy is always meant to encourage and edify people. Jesus wants us to have an abundant life (John 10:10), but the devil wants to steal kill and destroy. One easy way to tell is if your prophecy leads people closer to Jesus and others in the church or pushes them further away from Jesus. The Bible is clear that wolves will rise up from inside the church and try to take people away from Jesus (Acts 20:29).
  • Prophecy includes revelation, interpretation and application. We need to be careful to discern what God is saying, what it means for the person, and how they can apply it to their lives. Prophecy (along with spirits) should be tested (1 John 4:1). Not all prophecies are true. We need discernment. Prophecy should be in line with God’s heart, the Bible, and leaders in which God has placed authority.


  • 真正的預言是聖靈的禮物(哥林多前書124-11)。但是,我們也可以從我們自己的靈,邪靈,還有從天使那聽見預言。去分辨現在妳聽到的預言是否來自於神,這是很重要的。因為妳不確定你聽見的聲音是來自於誰,所以當妳還在學習預言這個恩賜的時候,應該保持謙卑,然後這樣形容妳聽到的預言,像是我相信上帝是說我覺得,不把話說死,這樣妳可以給自己在練習預言的成長過程中,留個犯錯的空間,畢竟我們都是人,難免會犯錯。
  • 所有恩賜的目的都是愛(哥林多前書13)。預言應該來自明白神的心思意念,並且為他人表明神的心意(哥林多前書14:31)。我們的目的是在於恢復關係(瑪拉基書45 – 6)。預言一直都是為了鼓勵,並且造就人。耶穌希望我們有一個豐盛的生命(約翰福音10:10),而魔鬼想的卻是偷竊,殺害和破壞。一個簡單辨別的辦法是,你的預言會讓人們更接近耶穌,還是會讓他們與耶穌漸行漸遠。聖經中說得相當清楚,狼群會從教堂中興起,並嘗試將人們帶離耶穌(使徒行傳20:29)
  • 預言包括了啟示,解釋和應用。我們必須要小心地辨別上帝的話語,這些話語對某些人意味著什麼,以及他們如何把這些話語應用到他們的生活中。我們都應該對這些預言(連同給予妳預言的靈)進行測試(約翰一書41)。並非所有的預言是正確的。所以我們需要去辨別。預言應該按照神的心思意念、聖經,還有上帝賦予權柄之領袖的觀點。