It seems like there is much debate these days on which is more important, the function or title, or if either one is important.
Consider with me the well known passage of Acts chapter 8 where Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ unto them. Many believed both seeing and hearing the miracles that he did because many that were lame and had the palsy were healed and those that had unclean spirits, they were coming out of them. And there was great joy in the city.
This story is a great illustration and picture of the function of an Evangelist.
Then of course later in the book of Acts in chapter 21 we find this verse:
“On the next day we left and came to Caesarea, and entering the house of Philip the evangelist, who was one of the seven, we stayed with him.” Acts 21:8 NASB
In this verse we obviously see the title of an Evangelist.
So which is important?
They both are in their proper setting.
The title describes the function that one does our how one serves the Body in Ecclesia. But to take the title (being self appointed) without the function is to be a fraud. (And we have many of those today)
Paul clearly said:
“Paul, an apostle (not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised Him from the dead),” Galatians 1:1 NKJV
“Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,” Colossians 1:1 NASB
From Paul’s greetings in his Epistles he did not have an identity crisis. He knew who he was and what God called him to be. He was also very clear that this was not through man but through God.
If we look in the secular world and we say that someone is an electrician, what we are saying is this is how someone functions and this is what they do. If we say that someone is a plumber, what we are saying is this is how they function and this is what they do.
If we move over to the medical field, we have all different kinds of doctors. Many have different specialties (or Biblical terms differences of administrations) but yet they are all doctors.
For example a podiatrist is a doctor for your feet. An ENT is a doctor that specializes in ear, nose and throat. A cardiologist is a doctor that specializes in heart care. They are all doctors, but yet their title describes their function and how they serve humanity through their diverse gifting.
Does anyone see the parallel?
When I was functioning as an Evangelist, my primary focus and assignment was preaching crusades and revivals, preaching like a house on fire, baptizing the first three rows in spit, and lining them up and mowing them down.
When I was functioning as a Prophet, my primary focus and assignment was teaching on the Gifts Of The Spirit, especially Prophetic Gifting. Teaching people how to hear the voice of God for themselves and learning how to flow in Prophetic Gifting...raising up a company of Prophets and prophetically gifted people.
Now that I am functioning as an Apostle, my primary focus and assignment is Regional Alignment, Gathering Leaders Together across gender, generational, and denominational lines; as well as pouring into the next generation through mentorship and being a Spiritual Father or Big Brother.
In my life in ministry over the last 40 years I have been considered as three different titles. But under each one of those titles, there was a job description, or function, or assignment that went along with it.
Was it, or is it wrong for me to have been, or be considered as an Evangelist, a Prophet, or an Apostle? No Absolutely Not! As long as I was and am fulfilling those primary focuses and assignments.
The titles describe or described my function of how I serve Ecclesia. So are titles important? Yes...they are identifiers of Function. Are functions important? Yes...they are described by Titles.