We are dangerously close to an economic meltdown similar to the Great Depression. Bankers got their bail outs as the FEDS print more money like never before and the taxpayers will foot the bill. Health care has been nationalized. At the same time, pastors are quitting the ministry and churches are losing their buildings. Bad news is abundant. Folks it’s apparent that playing church is over and only the real deal will survive.
Making the apostolic transition will be key to your victory.
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 ten years many have taught various things about apostolic ministry and sadly some promoted it like any other passing fad. Well, 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.
In the beginning of our transition into 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 within 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 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 really seen before. These words equip, empower and sent are not apostolic buzz words but the results of apostolic grace working on the lives of believers.
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 ministry is tailored to the individual. We are all unique with particular gifting and grace on our lives. It takes time to discover ones specific purpose but apostolic grace really 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 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 too. 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 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 out of 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. All three of these are part of the reconstitution of all things found in Acts 3:21. The apostolic Church cannot escape this mandate. The Greek word for reconstitution isapokatastasis. 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 your ability to understand truth, use the Word of God to govern your life and your dependence on the Holy Spirit to lead you and guide you in all 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.
I wrote more on this subject in "Effective Ministries and Believers: Introducing apostolic ministry and what it means to you."
BY Jonas Clark