Restoring Apostolic Foundations and Securing the Future of the next Generation of Ministers
1 Cor. 3: 9-11
‘For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building.According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder,I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.’The word ‘Foundation’ here is the word in Greek ‘Themelios’ meaning something put down, that is a substruction of a building, etc. notice the the spiritual foundation determines the destined impact.
In this season a great surge of apostolic restoration is taking place on the earth today. It is vital that we understand what God is doing and stand at the heart of it It will not be just about the emergence of fresh and dynamic apostolic ministries along the lines of Ephesians 4:11-12.‘And He 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 ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,’
We are now beginning to see the fruit of these ministries as they work to equip the Body of Christ and bring forth an apostolic people.
The Church will begin to emerge as a people equipped with the vitality of the Spirit ready to meet the challenge of the days in which we live.
How do you engage the Apostolic?
First you need to determine who is nurturing you apostolically in this season. It must be those who have progressed into dimensions of fullness of the apostolic anointing.
Second you need to have a clear concept of apostleship.In our day today in this country, the word “apostle’ seems to being used of a superior ranking and/or authority who gives controlling direction. The New Testament does speak of apostleship – and not just the apostles of the first century who were called to deliver the infallible message of Jesus to the Church.
Apostles are necessary in every age of the Church. They are not called today to bring primary revelation. That was, as Jude made clear, once-for-all completed and delivered to the Church. “…contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.” Jude 3
However, we need the same kind of leadership that the Church had in the beginning to set her on the sure footings of apostolic foundation. We need the apostolic vision of the hour to point us towards and bring us into God’s present day purposes. In short, a church without apostolic leadership is unstable, weak, directionless and ultimately ineffective.
The Local Church Level
Structurally we have to move from Denominational wineskins to an Apostolic government. Here are five general assumptions concerning the role of a pastor (which is shifting now).
I. Pastors are employees of the church.
- Pastors come and go.
- Pastors are enablers. Their responsibility is to implement the vision of the people.
IV. Pastors are the medicine men of the church. They are expected to do religious things but not to lead.
- Pastors are subject to performance reviews. They can be fired at will. In contrast, apostolic churches make a different set of assumptions concerning the local church pastor.
- Pastors – not congregations – cast the vision.
- Pastors major in leadership and minor in management.
- Pastors make top-drawer policy decisions and delegate the rest.
- Pastors build a solid management team of both elders and staff. Pastors are not subject to the authority of this team, but the team serves the pleasure of the pastors.
- Staff members are employees of the pastor not the church.
- Pastors are called for life
- pastors choose their successors.
Trans location level of apostolic structure
Unlike in a denomination where an officer is promoted as a Bishop or a superintendent over churches, apostolic leadership is quite different. It stands or falls not on an ecclesiastical position, but on personal relationships.
- Apostolic relational networks replace denominations.
- Local churches are autonomous and the pastors are the leaders of the congregation.
- They decide to place themselves under the ‘spiritual covering’ a trans-local apostle.
This means that they enter into a mutual personal agreement that
the apostle will do the following:
- Assume spiritual authority over the pastor,
- Speak into the pastor’s life,
- Deal with ministry issues that require outside assistance,
- Encourage the pastor and serve as a spiritual father.
In turn the pastor contributes financially through tithing and cheerfully sowing seeds to cover the expenses of the apostle.
• Note that this agreement is sustained only as long as the personal relationship remains positive.
• The apostle or the pastor can leave voluntarily, from the relationship and experience shows that this happens if the apostle violates personal and ministerial integrity.
At the core of apostolic ministry lies a cluster of God-given, Spirit
produced abilities. And it’s these abilities we need to see released into churches and their leaders. These abilities help us to see the heart of apostolic ministry.
The ability to be a father
- This speaks of wise and mature leadership.
- It is about giving life and spiritual generation.
- It also has to do with nurture and protection.
- People need this level of leadership if they are going to rise in their potential as sons of the living God.
1 Corinthians 4:15 shows how rare true spiritual fatherhood is, “For though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel”
- Apostles, as fathers are spiritual generators. They carry the ability to get things started. They seem to make things happen. They are gifted to get something done. A vision has to be implemented.
- They have the capacity not only to see where God wants His people to be but also the wisdom to know how to get there.
- Apostles can inspire and motivate others towards the fulfillment of God-given goals.
- The apostle builds and establishes God’s work and God’s people.
- The ability to be a builder. The apostle builds and establishes God’s work and God’s people.
- They are not content simply to shine in “superstar’ ministry or merely to preach to thousands. They have a burden to establish something. They see the value in working with others. They would agree with DL Moody who reportedly said, “I don’t want to do the work of 1,000 men. I would rather set 1,000 men to work.”
The apostle Paul said, “According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it.” 1 Corinthians 3:10
- Mobilizing believers for ministry Is an activity is characteristic of truly apostolic ministry.
- An apostle has a true pioneer spirit. It’s the ability to be a trail-blazer and go ahead of the others preparing the way for them. Apostles constantly breakthrough into new areas.
- We must not loose this pioneer calling. We must attempt to do things not done by others. We must continue to be a breakthrough church and open up areas of vast spiritual wasteland to the gospel in this city and beyond. We must continue to set the temperature in the spiritual atmosphere of cities we come from and not sit back and become a mere reflection of our environment.
The ability to be an enabler
- All the ministry gifts of Christ mentioned in Ephesians 4:11 are enabling ministries sent to equip the body of Christ.
- Apostles primary concern is to raise up others. They stand as Moses did on the hill upholding the Joshua’s in the valley as they engage the enemy. They take their place in the command centre as the general of the army.
- Apostolic ministry is gifted in strategic level leadership and has the potential to take whole cities and nations for God.
- We must now rise up and take hold of the apostolic anointing and press in and rise to whatever level of apostolic ministry God is calling us to possess.
Pastoral Mind-Sets versus Apostolic Mind-Sets
This is not to say that Apostles are important in God’s design for the body of Christ than pastors. That would be like an eye saying to the hand, ‘I have no need of you’ (1Cor. 12:21). Pastors are different from apostles like an eye is from a hand. But when it comes to areas of trans-local government, we are seeing shift from the pastoral mind set of the old wine skins to the apostolic mind-set characteristic of the new wine-skins.
- The Pastoral mind-set focused primarily on individual believers, the ‘sheep’ as it should. The apostolic mind-set focused on the corporate vision and outreach of the local church.
- The pastoral mind-set wants to take the congregation, the ‘flock’ to its next level of service to God. The apostolic mind-set goes beyond the congregation and targets city and regional transformation.
- The pastoral mind-set attempts to maintain harmony, balance, peace and stability. The apostolic mind-set pushes out to the frontiers of the mission of God with all risks involved in aggressive warfare.
- The pastoral mind-set regards the church as a family of God. Socialization becomes important. The apostolic mind-set regards the church as the army of God. Effective strategy becomes important. Pastors want their people in the bedroom (intimacy with God), while apostles want them in the battlefield (warfare with the devil).
- Pastors are comfortable with and connect better with teachers. Apostles,min he other hand connect better with prophets.
- The pastoral mind-set avoids controversy so that everything remains settled. The apostolic mind-set welcomes and confronts controversy with the goal of resolution.
- There needs to be a blend overlapping of these dimensions but the church must
- accept to transition to apostolic paradigm.