What is the Marks of the Apostolic?
The Apostolic is a hot topic in alot of churches what is it and what are the marks of the Apostle? The truth is I am not even sure if anyone knows anymore. The whole concept of apostolic ministry has become so over used that that anything and everything is considered to be part of it. It is much like how we have cheapened revival down.
Despite how silly some people have gotten with the concept, I believe in Apostles, apostolic ministry and that we need true leadership in the Bride of Christ more than ever. The problems is we have many people thinking they are called to this function and we have very few people actually operating in it.
I believe the best place to learn what the function is not found in some teaching on Youtube, a book by some popular writer or following some charismatic leader on Twitter. It is found solely in the New Testament. What was the marks of the Apostle in the Book of Acts?
I will also like to add that we need to quit worship words. Apostles was just a word used by the Greek that was influenced by the Roman Army. It does not have power or anointing. It is just a word. It is not the name of Jesus!
Apostolic Ministry is always missional!
In 2 Corinthians 10, we get a look at what being an Apostle was according to Paul. It is not about conferences and having best selling books. It was about Missio Deo, God’s mission. Anyone who claims to move in this function and is not passionately missional is a lair.
so that we can preach the gospel in the regions beyond you. For we do not want to boast about work already done in someone else’s territory. (2 Cor. 10:16)
The whole idea of an Apostle is one who pioneers. It is someone who takes light where there is no light. They release hope where this is no hope. They bring comfort to the broken and those who have never heard the good news of the Kingdom.
The reality of the matter is that this is not America. Apostles line up for speaking engagements but they also had well off middle class suburban churches. True apostolic ministry will turn toward the 10/40 window where up to half the people believe Jesus might be the new guy in the next village. According to Joshua Project, “This means approximately 62% of the individuals in the 10/40 Window live in an unreached people group.”
I am very concerned about these “Apostles” who think planting the 5th church on the block is going to “unchartered lands.” This is not what people like John Williams and A.G. Garr believed. They laid down their lives for the sake of the gospel. This is a far cry from planting the next seeker sensitive church in the neighborhood with alot of money.
I must be very clear as I stand before the Lord for this. There is no apostolic ministry without sound missiology. If you are an Apostle, show me your missiology, please!
Where is the regional transformation?
Pastors lead churches but Apostles lead nations. Have you ever noticed that in the Book of Acts, there is no Assembly of God, Baptist or Church of God? The reason is there is only the Church of Ephesus, the Church of Corinth, the Church at Philippi, etc. Apostolic ministry was about harvesting cities and regions; not planting churches.
This is where the rubber meets the road in ministry. We have very few people who actually are having impact on regions and are harvesting the fields before them. If I had to make a list of people doing this currently in North America, the list would be very short.
This is not about a speaker being popular and well respected among pastors. That is an overseer which is different than an Apostle. We have many overseers, but we have few apostolic leaders today.
The drama that is unfolding around the nation is proof that there has been a lack of leadership in the Bride to be salt and light to the world around us. Darkness can only work where there the lighthouse on the hill have been turned out.
If the true apostolic is in operation, it bring order and light to every area of society. It will impact the society at a deep level. If the impact is only inside the church, you have renewal but not true works of the Apostle in your midst.
Function, not identity
I remember back at IHOPKC in 2001 having a discussion with Shawn Bolz. If you do not know who that is, he is a young prophetic guy that is the encouraging believers to hear God for themselves.
As our discussion in the hallway of the old double wide trailer (IHOPKC was not big back then) continued, we talked about how ministry is what we do but not who we are. Too many people find the identity in the ministry.You are the sons and daughters of God. Ministry is just your function. (If you would like more, Shawn expanded on this in his book, Throne Room Company.)
I have always found this a very odd discussion. We don’t call the trash man by his role in society. We don’t call the bank teller by his position either. Why do we do it for Apostles, Prophets and Pastors? I dare to call it what it is: idolatry.
I use to get business cards handed to me at meetings and I would always want to cry. I would look down and see “Apostle Smith,” “Prophet Jones,” “Bishop Johnson,” etc. People were finding their identity in their function or their ministry. It was heart breaking.
I want to close this article with a strong word. We are turned off by people using Apostle and Prophet for their identity but we seem to give pastors a free pass at this. I would dare to say that referring to pastor by what they do is just as wrong. It might be acceptable in society but that does not make it spiritually proper. Just saying.
About the featured image
The man in the image is A.G. Garr. He was one of the first people to be baptized in the Holy Spirit in the Azusa Street Revival. Within a matter of weeks, he took his family and left to take the power of Pentecost to India and later Hong Kong. He had a true apostolic ministry. Not very many like him today.