God is raising up an apostolic people. This has already begun, my friend. Called out from purposeless religious observation, these ecclesiacs are coalescing around apostolic initiatives. Interestingly, one can find apostolic expression in varying cross-segments of the body of Christ. Apostolic expression cannot be limited to a certain ‘tribe” or movement in the body. The apostolic will arise anywhere hungry hearts are open to New Testament church government and supernatural empowerment.
Certain “tribes” or groups are already primed for this move. These have a New Testament government already in place (consisting of ordained elders, deacons, and five-fold offices). Other groups will have to swim upstream to taste of the new wine Heaven is pouring out. Certain denominational (and even non-denominational) church governments are aligned in direct opposition to Holy Spirit’s leading. New Testament-based reform will be necessary for such churches to experience the fulness of Apostolic ministry. Without that reform, soulish men and women will eventually oppose the emerging government of Spirit. Prophetically speaking, there will be a tidal wave of apostolic signs and wonders that will touch many traditional churches through new media and broadcast television. This flood of apostolic demonstration will stir up hunger in many churches that have had success in areas of soulish ministry. Soulish speaks of ministry that can be accomplished through natural means. Churches who operate soulishly are quite content to have service without the Holy Spirit. Once the apostolic ministry of supernatural signs and wonders knocks on their door, however, people will be stirred. Either they will choose to align with apostolic ministry, or to quench the move and return to church as usual.
Among those already aligned with New Testament apostolic church government, there must be adjustment in the coming days. For many of us, the form is in place. The mindset, however, is a bit askew. Some presuppositions concerning the apostolic move have us facing a few degrees off course. Perhaps, if we picked up our biblical compass, we’d be surprised at the simple adjustments that would direct us to true north. Maybe our post-modern minds have deconstructed the office of the apostle, dismantling it beyond recognition. Homework: Let us regain a holistic understanding of apostolic ministry by revisiting the New Testament apostles in Acts and the subsequent epistles. My prior post: Characteristics of an Apostle is a great starting place.
Part of the tweaking needed, is to reconsider what it means to be an apostolic people. The tidal wave of apostolic signs and wonders will certainly produce supernatural demonstrations of the 1 Corinthians 12 power gifts of 1.) faith 2.) healing 3.) miracles. These, the church have become somewhat accustomed to in bygone periods of renewal and revival. These are the manifestations that attest to apostolic ministry (2 Corinthians 12:12). In the coming move, however, the people of that move will become signs and wonders, themselves. According to the Isaiah 8:18 account, “Behold, I and the children whom the LORD has given me are for signs and for wonders in Israel from the LORD of hosts, who dwells in mount Zion.” Not only should we prepare to experience signs and wonders, we are to become the signs and wonders attesting the Lordship of our God and King.
We must expect that a true apostle will raise up apostolic people. Again, the word Apostle (apostolos) means: delegate, messenger, one sent forth with orders. An apostle will raise up other “sent ones” or those he or she can send out.
“Again Jesus said, ‘Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” John 20:21.
Apostolic people are sent ones. Where are they sent?
Jesus prayed in John 17:18, “As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.” Expect to be dispatched, my friend. Apostolic ministry only begins in the four walls of the church! It reaches fulfillment when expressed in “secular” society. What happens inside the church, is but the seed for marketplace manifestation. Apostolic people should be demonstrating the Kingdom in businesses, schools, media, the health industry, government, entertainment, etc… “Out there” is where the apostolic ministry gains traction.
Before we get to societal and global demonstration of the Kingdom, there must be a change in ethos inside the four walls of the church. An apostle creates an apostolic environment or ethos, by preparing people for action.
The traditional church ethos is more contemplative. It’s more about the individual believer and their personal devotion to God as demonstrated by contemplation of the gospel. It’s a very private inward experience which leads to a more individual, private and exclusive expression of faith. This faith is defined by what one thinks or feels about God, and how one relates to God as an individual.
The apostolic church ethos is action-oriented. Rather than contemplating the good news, the apostolic church exhibits the good news through application of spiritual principles in the marketplace (outside the four walls of the church). As a result, the dividing wall between the sacred and secular life is torn down.
“The earth is the Lords and the fullness thereof!” 1 Corinthians 10:26.
Apostolically speaking, every “secular” job is a knot in the net for the reaping of the end-time draught. Therefore, an apostolic believer sees their job as a divine call – a place of ministry.
Apostolic people are geared to pursue more than the salvation of individuals. In addition to this, they seek to bring transformation to people, organizations and systems outside of the church-house. Friend, we are only as apostolic as we are activated outside the four walls of our churches.
Concerning apostolic people:
- The sum total of their Christian mission is not encapsulated in the services or programs within the four walls of the church.
- Faith language or kingdom talk is incorporated in their daily interactions at home, work and abroad.
- They are responsible for planting seminal ideas or thoughts that spawn change in the hearts of those they network with.
- They exist for the benefit of others, not at the expense of others. They are self-supporting financially, and even generators of wealth to help others.
- The goal of their mission is to bring people into the Kingdom by demonstrating the Kingdom’s superior fruit. It’s a “taste and see that the Lord is good” approach.
- Apostolic people bring the super to the natural. Some are concerned with the apostolic movement waxing “secular” in its emphasis. Rather it is an invasion of radical demonstrators of effectual Kingdom power into the secular world.
Are we there yet? Nope.
What hinders us from becoming the Apostolic people God has called us to be?
- Our unwillingness to take ministry beyond the four walls of the church. The sacred vs. secular life.
- The hierarchical view of apostolic ministry. Ruling eldership is only one aspect of apostleship. The office of an apostle is currently recognized mainly as a top-tier title of authority within established works, rather than a ministry commissioned for pioneering or for instigation.
- The comfort of contemplative Christianity. It’s easier to think about change, preach about it, write about it, than to affect it.
- Limited view of ministry. Ministry, to most, is a three-point sermon and an altar call. On a great day, we’ll pray for someone, or operate in a spiritual gift. Ministry in the marketplace will require more than this. We must grow into hearing God for divine business or governmental strategy. We must be healers of more than individuals. We must learn to heal companies, businesses, systems or even nations. We’re thinking too small.
- Unwillingness to send sent ones. We take the best and brightest among us, in the church, and anoint them for the pastorate. If they have a grace for leadership, we call them into five-fold ministry, when God might be raising them up to take another mountain. Who knows, but the next governor might be in your Sunday School, right now. The next president of the school board could be in your youth group. We take the most articulate and well-received, and conscript them to pulpit ministry. What if their ministry is “secular” in application?
- We don’t realize the potential reward. We have faith for a Heavenly reward based on church attendance and volunteerism inside the church. The greatest potential for apostolic growth, in the here and now, is based on what we do “out there.”
In closing, Apostolic people are marked by the Apostles they are aligned with. They, too will exhibit the characteristics of the Apostolic ministry they submit to (as outlined in the “Apostle” acrostic of the prior post.)
A – Affiliate.
They will affiliate with other businesses, civic groups, public outreaches, etc… for the dissemination of Kingdom ideas.
P - Power.
Their words will carry power. Whenever they speak in matters of business or civic duty, authority will be conveyed.
O – Order.
Apostolic people will be sent into (employed) in places of darkness and chaos to bring the order and light of the Gospel.
S – Signs.
The greater works will be done by their hands. As proof of their heavenly call and backing, signs and wonders will manifest bringing them great favor and notoriety in their work.
They will become apt teachers in their mountain of influence. People will gather to them to learn their higher ways of operating.
L – Leaders.
Leaders will be drawn to them, and raised up by them. They will install and train people who will reinforce Kingdom ideas in the marketplace.
E – Entrepreneur.
The genius of the Holy Spirit will birth new businesses and wealth generating ideas through them. They will not only make wealth, but become employers or stimulators of economies.