The bible says that the church is built on apostles and prophets (Ephesians 2:21; 1 Corinthians 12:23). Therefore, it is important for churches to consider what it looks like to have effective apostolic and prophetic ministry. Over the last six weeks I have been exploring a range of thoughts that could contribute to more effective and mature expression of the apostolic.
It seems that all gifts of the Spirit have varying levels of anointing and authority. We all accept that the gift of evangelist has, at one end, every believer sharing their faith and at the other, Billy Graham. In between are all types of effectiveness outworked by and through the Holy Spirit. There is a continuum. Unfortunately, when we refer to apostles rather than apostolic ministry/atmosphere we stumble to see the place and relevance of a continuum.
In number 7 of the series I observe what apostolic atmosphere/ ministry could include:
It would seem to me that in apostolic atmospheres where leaders relate in freedom and friendship, that fathers and fathers of fathers can emerge who are:
- Christ centred above being church centred in their vision;
- desirous of building a habitation for God;
- releasing the power of God and empowering others to release the power of God;
- motivated by a strong desire to see Jesus formed in His people above seeing church in a certain form;
- travailing to give birth to kingdom realities and lifestyles not just to organise a large team; and
- coming in weakness and not their own strength whilst having clear realms of authority
These characteristics can have varying levels of anointing, authority and effectiveness in different leaders. So for a church to be built on apostles (& prophets), it is not necessary to have someone like the Apostle Paul influencing the life and flow of the church. However, each local church can be led by the Spirit to an expansion of the apostolic that will empower them to pursue their assignments.
To build with apostolic influence points to the need for ministry input from a “father” who brings wisdom and love to a group of elders who are free men who hear the voice of God. The “fathering” relationship is not to be characterised by the ‘adult/child’ phase of fathering. Rather it is a mature adult to adult relationship. That is there is not the controlling and permission with holding of the adult/child phase. Instead there is a high regard for the fathers wisdom, knowing that he wants to offer love and impart on the basis of what could be best for the others.
When organising principle shifts from fathering to structural and functional relationships monitored by policies to ensure that the “advice” of the overseer is followed what happens to the apostolic atmosphere/ministry?
Until next time may you be blessed with God’s favour and life.