In recent conversations, a common question keeps coming up among people who are diving deep into the five fold paradigm and those who are at all familiar. The question is this: Is APEST just another personality test?
Another way to ask this is: What is the difference between APEST and something like Strength Finders or Myers Briggs?
So, I thought I’d create a post that addresses both of the questions.
APEST is a paradigm, not a program
The first thing is getting your head around this. APEST is about identity, not activity. APEST defines who we are before it describes what we do.
As the apostle Paul describes the ascension in perhaps the greatest scripture passage you’ve never read, he mentions that Jesus left gifts of grace in the form of people: Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Shepherd and Teacher. These gifts aren’t appetizers. They are the main meal. These gifts aren’t accessories, they are the jeans and boots.
The five fold gifts are a way to understand who you are in the body of Christ and this will help flesh out what you do, not the other way around.
It can be life saving, or at least ministry saving. I speak with so many ministers who aren’t operating in the area of their calling and it’s breaking their souls. Knowing your five fold quotient (what Alan Hirsch calls 5Q), can help you understand why, let’s say, hospital visitation is exhausting your heart and why hanging out talking to people in a downtown coffee shop makes your pulse race.APEST is about identity, not activity. APEST defines who we are before it describes what we do. #APEST #5Q @fivefoldbible Click To Tweet
Teaching members of the Body about APEST is only about informing. Equipping them to minister out of their identity, their five fold make up, is transforming.
APEST isn’t taught in a classroom. It’s lived in every corner of God’s mission world. Abraham Kuyper is often quoted as saying:
“There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry, Mine!” Abraham Kuyper
That’s where the APEST paradigm makes sense, in the “Mine!” parts of our existence.
So, let’s look at how APEST and Personality Tests differ.
APEST Defines A Who and Why
Before we look at particular personality tests, let’s clarify: when we talk about discovering our five fold gifts, we are talking about self-discovery. We are learning how we have been wired by the Father (the Who). And for what purpose (the Why).
Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the shepherds (pastors) and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ.
Ephesians 4:11-13; NLT
All people have a job to do in the body of Christ. We have a responsibility as the NLT puts it that helps us understand our Why:
To equip God’s people to do his work.
- What is God’s work? To bring the whole earth into reconciled relationship with the Father.
- How does that happen? Through the APEST gifts at work in the Body of Christ.
- So what does ‘equip’ mean? To raise members of the Body into their APEST identities.
To build up the Body of Christ
- To ‘build up’ is to literally ‘build up’, as in like a house or building. The building requires what every building requires, specialized people doing the work they were ‘equipped’ to do: architects, plumbers, electricians, carpenters, painters.
To attain unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son
- APEST work is unity work.
- The Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Shepherd and Teacher work together to cultivate unity and curate shared experience through and in Christ Jesus.
And HUGE Why-ness: That we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ.
- The APEST people move the Body of Christ toward completion in Christ, Shalom – a Hebrew word that is a full narrative of maturity.
So, you can see that APEST defines Who you are in Christ as well as Why you are in His Body. So, now we can look at the Personality Test and their focus on the How.
Personality Tests Describe A How
How a person does something is open to infinite variation.
Some painters are realists, some cubist.
Some musicians play guitar, others the trombone.
Some rock, some classical.
One of my favorite clips that illustrates this is from The Princess Bride where two swordsmen, a pirate and a mercenary (Who) discuss How they are dueling, which methods they are using.
Personality Tests describe the techniques, the methods, How you exercise your Who.
For instance, I’m an Apostle, Teacher, Prophet, Evangelist, Shepherd. I’m your classic Passion Igniter, the John Keating character in Dead Poet’s Society.
In the Body of Christ, I communicate the passion and vision of the Scriptures. I want to excite and challenge you to see and believe. The more that can hear, the better. The more that respond, even better. The more I can push into places I’ve never pushed…so good!
My StrengthFinders are: Strategic, Analyzer, Relator, Ideation, Futurist.
As an A/T, my StrengthFinder skills are incredibly helpful. I push the faith forward and think strategically to do so. I love to analyze systems and help them run better, or apply great systems in other areas where they are needed.
StrengthFinders fuels how I do the work of an Apostle/Teacher.
On The Myers-Briggs, I’m an ENFJ (with a really thin line between J and P). My MBTI describes how I go about being who I have been created to be: an extravert that goes on gut, feeling and likes to see things wrap up creatively and flexibly.
If APEST is the drawing, the outline, then Strengthfinders is the colors and MBTI is the brushes. They work together uniquely, purposefully, creatively.
So how can you see how these things all interact together? Well, you have to take tests. But not bad ones and the grading doesn’t fail you.
If you aren’t a part of a community that can help you discern your APEST, then you can take the test here and discover your personal APEST profile.
Myers-Briggs can be taken here.If APEST is the drawing, the outline, then Strengthfinders is the colors and MBTI is the brushes. They work together uniquely, purposefully, creatively. #APEST @fivefoldbible Click To Tweet
Each test will cost you some cash, but you’ll gain much more than you’ll spend.