The revelation about apostolic ministry came to me around 1996. Others may have received insight earlier, but that’s about the time the Holy Spirit began dealing with me. Over the last several years, many have taught various things about apostolic ministry, and sadly some promoted it like any other fad.
Today the fad is over, and the apostolic model of ministry is just as important as ever. I would say it’s vital to the strengthening of every local church and believer. It is also important to you as a minister of the Gospel of the Kingdom and as an individual that wants to make a difference with your life. You need apostolic grace, and we will speak more about that later.
Making the apostolic transition will be key to your victory.
At the beginning of our transition to a more effective model of ministry we prayed, counseled with other leaders, compared notes, studied the Scriptures and were able to draw some Biblical conclusions. Among them was the understanding that the pattern for an apostolic local church model was found in the New Testament. Imagine that! What we discovered was the apostolic church was the only model for a New Testament church. This challenged our thinking because the only model we had ever experienced was a pastoral only model of ministry.
Within the pastoral-only model, the pastor pretty much did all the ministry functions. Those of you that are still stuck in the pastoral-only model know what I am referring to. The only requirement of the people was to faithfully attend services, serve where needed (or begged) and pay tithes while waiting for the rapture. Today, we know our former model of ministry was flawed and only prepared people for heaven and not much here on the earth. They were spectators who came to church for blessing only. This is why the pastoral only model of ministry doesn’t work, and churches are not surviving the attacks of our generation. The truth is that Christ wants to prepare His Church to be builders, restorers, and governors. I spoke about the apostolic nature in my book “Effective Ministries and Believers.” These three words capture the apostolic nature of the Church and its founder. Jesus is the apostolic high-priest of His Church.
As time progressed, we learned there were no churches pioneered by pastors but apostles. This forced us to study the differences between ministry functions of an apostle contrasted to that of the better-known pastor. We also needed to know how that affected us as individual believers. What we found was apostolic grace is very different and when working together with the other five-fold ascension gifts equips and empowers everyone to do what God has called them to do as particular members in the body of Christ and imparts a sent-one mindset to invade, occupy, and influence the world for Christ. This grace produced a spiritual strength in the believers that we had not seen before. These words equip, empower, and send are not apostolic buzz words, but the results of apostolic grace working in the lives of believers.
In the beginning, we faced many struggles. I regard it as a fight for freedom to liberate us from the bondage of religious spirits that have dumbed down the Church for the last two thousand years. Since most of us were brought up in pastoral-only churches, we struggled to gain an understanding of apostolic churches with apostles as set-men. Other than historical references we had little modern models to draw on. In fact, many were told there were no modern apostles. We have, however, learned some things. We don’t know it all, but the apostolic model is coming together bit by bit as we walk it out. My prayer is apostolic local church models will be built throughout the world and make it easier for those coming up to glean from.
Today we understand that apostolic churches are founded or led by apostles who work together with other apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers within the local church to equip believes for the work of ministry. This is a foundational statement and repeated much today. The question, however, is, “What is the work of ministry?” After years of preaching and teaching this, I believe the work of the ministry is tailored to the individual. We are all unique with particular gifting and grace on our lives. It takes time to discover one's specific purpose, but apostolic grace helps people find it.
The work of ministry includes duties within the local church, but most importantly ministries outside the local church. It’s outside the local church that apostles equip God’s sons and daughters to be successful and make a difference with their lives.
To help us understand this, we should look at the nature of the apostolic church. First, let me contrast the pastoral church. A church takes on the nature of its leader. If that leader is pastoral then that local church will take on the nature of a pastor, loving counsel and compassion for example. These are great qualities, but we need warrior training to punch through the spiritual opposition we face on a daily basis. We also need to be trained in governing. Please, pastors, don’t get mad at me for saying things like this because I love you and want to help you come into your highest calling. Study the apostolic out. Read everything you can get your hands on. Learn from those that have actually built something. Avoid the network apostles that work for Jezebel. Study all of the different five-fold ministry gifts so that you can teach their differences to those in your ministry. When the people understand their differences, then they can draw from them. You can’t draw the pastoral grace out of a prophet for example.
Today, the Holy Spirit is challenging us again. We must strengthen the local church and raise strong spiritual warriors for Christ. As already said, I believe the nature of the apostolic church model revolves around three important functions: building, restoring and governing. (We govern through influence.) We could add two more functions to our list such as restoring and fathering. More on that later. All three of these apostolic functions are part of the reconstitution of all things found in Acts 3:21. The Apostolic Church cannot escape this restoration mandate. The Greek word for reconstitution is apokatastasis. Spend some time and study this out. When you do, it will open a whole new world of ministry and understanding of purpose to you.
Most of you know our nation is headed toward tough economic times. This doesn’t mean you should become fearful. If you do, then something is wrong with your Biblical foundation. Fear doesn’t come from the Holy Spirit. Jesus said, “I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail.” As a believer that puts Christ' Kingdom first, you will have an advantage over the heathen. Your advantage is the ability to understand the truth, use the Word of God to govern your life, and your dependence on the Holy Spirit to lead and guide in truth. Remember, you can do all things through Christ that strengthens you. Believe for increase and opportunity. This will be your chance to shine. Use your training in God’s Word and make a difference with your life.
(c) Apostle Jonas Clark
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