The book of Nehemiah is an outstanding book for going from a compelling vision to its activation and implementation. Nehemiah was a type of a master builder apostle (1 Corinthians 3:10-14) who knew how to utilize teams, motivate the masses, and bring commitment through conviction. His leadership ability resulted in the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem and his methods are replicable.
The word of God teaches us that those set in to minister to the body of Christ have a function based on their supernatural and motivational giftings. How someone is “wired” will determine how they view life, the church, the priorities of Christianity, and ministry.
I heard a great prophetic teacher (Thamo Naidoo from South Africa) mention in his message that there is a difference between apostles of churches and apostles of Christ. He said that while there were many apostles of churches, there were only very few true apostles of Christ on the earth today. That one statement exploded on the inside of me and gave me much illumination. I had never heard anyone make this delineation before, but it makes a lot of sense to me. The following is what I have unpacked in the scriptures since Thamo made this statement.
The following is an excerpt from my book entitled “An Anthology Of Essays On The Apostolic.” These generalizations may or may not be true for particular denominations and apostolic movements:
I. Apostolic Movements vs. Denominations
1. An apostolic movement is usually led by one strong visionary/A denomination is usually directed by a board.
2. An apostolic movement is usually mission driven/A denomination is usually policy driven.
3. An apostolic movement is usually missiological in its biblical hermeneutic/A denomination is usually theological, sociological or culturally driven.
4. An apostolic movement emphasizes covenantal relationships based on voluntary associations/Denominations emphasize hierarchical structures and business in their gatherings.
5. An apostolic movement emphasizes the present move of God in the earth/Denominations the glory days of the past.
6. The apostolic emphasizes the movement/Denominations the institution.
7. Apostolic leaders are usually led by the Spirit in regards to ministry placement/Denominational clergy are usually told what parish to serve by their bishop or hierarchy.
8. Most apostolic movements adhere to a belief in biblical inerrancy/Most denominations believe in a higher critical form of inspiration. (Their line of reasoning goes like this: because the church gave the Scriptures the church has the right to change them, update them, etc. through church councils and official writings. Another thing sometimes taught in liberal denominations is that only the actual words of Jesus Christ in the Gospels are inspired of God.)
9. The apostolic emphasizes the power of Christ in terms of releasing faith to fulfill ministry/Denominations the power of committees to implement strategic plans.
10. Apostolic movements usually emphasize the local church as the primary training ground for ministry/Denominations usually only emphasize the seminary as the primary training ground for church ministry.
11. Apostolic movements empower the laity to minister (Ephesians 4:11, 12)/ In denominations the clergy are expected to do the work of the ministry.
12 –Apostolic movements believe apostolic succession is functionally based upon a divine calling, ministerial fruit, and anointing / Denominations believe apostolic succession is transferred through the laying on of hands of the bishop during an ecclesiastical commissioning ceremony.
The so-called “millennium generation” has seemed to develop certain presuppositions that are presently a huge challenge that can hinder the continuation of the present apostolic reformation in North America and beyond.
I have been in the apostolic movement since the late 1980’s and have observed many kinds of apostolic leaders. By “apostolic” I am referring to a person who functions in the apostolic ministry gift as mentioned in Ephesians 4:11. They may also oversee an apostolic church that exerts great influence in their community, and/or lead a network of churches.
As a person who has been part of the Apostolic Movement since 1989 I have seen the good, the bad and the ugly. That being said, I believe all of the five-fold ministry gifts mentioned in Ephesians 4:11 have always been present throughout church history (leaders were functioning these ways, whether they used these titles or not). Consequently, I have known many leaders who legitimately functioned in apostolic leadership and I have known many who have used the title without apostolic fruit and legitimacy.
Nowadays, with the flat-world reality of technology, it is easier than ever for key apostolic leaders to connect the world over. This incredible new ability to communicate should be done strategically and with wisdom, lest a leader fail because of a lack of focus. The following principles are important to follow for all global leaders.
There has been much said in recent years regarding the office of apostle and how they should function. Even mainline Evangelical leaders are using the term “apostolic” to describe certain types of leaders. Consequently, I feel the need to put together a brief summary of what I want to call “apostolic truth,” which is a fancy way of saying what apostolic understanding should include, in my opinion.
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