The so-called Apostolic Reformation since the mid 90’s signaled the end of identifying Christian movements merely by denominations. With that, there was a new emphasis on visionary leaders in the body of Christ known to function with the five-fold ministry gift of apostle (Ephesians 4:11).
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.
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.
The Antioch Church has been the model for missions movements, church planting and urban reconciliation for almost 2,000 years. The following principles show why this church is the model church rather than the Jerusalem Church. The purpose of sharing this message today is so that our church can look toward the Antioch Church as a model to aspire toward and imitate.
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.
Many if not most scholars consider Apostle Paul the most important leader in the history of the church, with the exception of the Lord Jesus Christ! Paul’s influence cannot be overstated in spite of him never having oversight of a megachurch (he started small house churches in about 30 cities); he wasn’t always very prosperous (often he spoke about being hungry, thirsty and naked as in 1 Corinthians 4:11); he wasn’t a celebrity leader (often he was met by mobs of angry people wanting to kill him as in Acts 9, 14:11, 19); he was not very well known during his lifetime outside the cities and regions in which he planted churches (his fame spread beyond these regions after his lifetime through his letters to the churches); and he was diminutive, not necessarily good looking, and may not have been a great orator (2 Corinthians 10:10).
Today there are many people in the independent Evangelical and Pentecostal movements who start churches merely because they feel led to do so.
If there were a way to statistically track the outcomes of these self-ordained pastors, my educated guess, based on years of experience, is that most of these churches and/or ministries fail to last more than a few years.
As much as I feel uncomfortable with this, transfer growth (that is, numerical growth to a local church when people migrate from another church) is a reality pastors around the world need to plan for. I understand there are going to be some people assigned to our local church from other churches for various reasons. One of these reasons is that apostolic/prophetic people will be drawn to apostolic/prophetic churches modeled after the New Testament church, and in some cases these people may come to Christ in churches without that New Testament revelation.
It is tragic when the vast potential of an individual or entity is limited or eliminated because there is no room for their gifts. In the case of a lion, when captured and encaged it loses its aggressive roar because it is forced to be localized into the confines of a cage. It may be a lion but it is no different from a house cat because, like a house cat, it no longer has to claim its territory and hunt to satisfy its hunger, and is content to stay confined within a building!
During the past several decades I have seen or read about more and more executive-level leaders and pastors falling into scandal or leaving the ministry because of personal challenges. Sometimes it seems like I hear about a leadership fall every week!
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