The Tantalizing Trap of Five-Fold Leadership

As I teach both ministry and marketplace leaders on five-fold leadership, I see amazing levels of excitement as leaders discover their five-fold gifts.  As their revelation in five-fold leadership grows, so does their tendency to fall into a tantalizing trap.

The Trap

So what exactly is the “tantalizing trap” of five-fold leadership?

It is simply to focus more on MY gifts – MY anointment – MY office than upon the reasons Jesus gave these gifts in the first place. How often to you see men and woman more enamored of their gifting, their either real or self-declared “office,’ than they are of the results these gifts are intended to produce in the body?

Ego. Self-gratification. Spiritual superiority. These and more are the tantalizing traps too many today carelessly fall into that end in dysfunction, alienation, and ultimately victory for the enemy.

To help you avoid this tantalizing trap, here is a quick expository on the three core goals of five-fold leadership with an exhortation to focus on the one mega-goal.

Three Goals of Five-Fold Leadership

“And He [Jesus] Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers for the equipping of the saints for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.” Ephesians 4:11-16

Whenever God repeats something in the Word, it is important. Clearly within these six verses are three distinct goals mentioned (in different ways) at least two times each. The highlighted words wrap themselves around these three obvious goals:

Goal #1: Edify/edifying/fullness = building up unto completion

Goal #2: Unity/knitted together = agreement, oneness

Goal #3: Growth = progressive development, increase

Notice that the Lord does not stop with these three measurements, but continues toward the one mega-goal.

The Mega-Goal of Five-Fold Leadership

The mega-goal five-fold leadership is not about your leadership anointing or even the edification, unity, and growth of your teams. It is ultimately about love (good will, benevolence, affection).

The only way to achieve the mega-goal of love is to take your focus off measuring the depth of your unique leadership gifts, and instead, focus your attention on measuring the edification, unity and growth of your teams in love.

Jesus’ final exam is based upon on how well you release His leadership gifts toward love. Unless you move beyond the gifts themselves into a focus on His outcome of the gifts, you totally miss His purpose for the gifts.

Therefore, to avoid falling into the tantalizing trap of five-fold leadership, measure all your leadership efforts in love.

About Dr. Jim

Dr. Jim Harris is President of The Jim Harris Group, an international speaking and advising firm dedicated to helping believers in business unleash their unfair advantage in the marketplace. He is the author of Our Unfair Advantage: Unleash the Power of the Holy Spirit in Your Business and numerous other award winning business books.


  • Eric Snyder says:

    Great admonition Jim; the goal is love! IMO, one of the best ways to love your employees is to engage the services of Marketplace Chaplains and begin a “care” program to tangibly demonstrate God’s love to them. Of course, this is in addition to your regular practices of being patient, kind, not dishonoring, not self-seeking, not getting angry, protecting and trusting.

    • Dr. Jim says:

      So good Eric. Aligning with Marketplace Chaplains ( is one of the MOST critical ways any believer in business can lead with love. In fact, two of my top retainer clients partner with Marketplace Chaplains to serve their employees and their families – another testimony to how truly great Christian leaders (like you) walk their talk.

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