Some Thoughts About Apostles...

We have seen many people in the Body of Christ in America in recent years calling themselves apostles who do not really manifest the character, wisdom and fruit of apostolic ministry.  As we study the Scriptures, we see that apostles were men and women who have been through the fires of testing and have proven character.   They live lives of humility with a deep love for and submission to the Lord Jesus the Messiah.  In addition, they are gifted by the Holy Spirit with wisdom to help establish believers in sound doctrine and in a real relationship with Jesus. 

Both the apostles Paul and Peter wrote letters to the first century churches, helping them to understand the foundational teachings about Jesus, the cross, the resurrection, and who believers are in Christ.   Neither Paul nor Peter tried to control the churches or dominate them.  They operated in real humility, serving the people of God.  They died to their own agendas and risked their lives and reputations, pursuing the glory and honor of Jesus.  They traveled in teams with other gifted believers, staying in cities for weeks, months and sometimes years in order to build up the fellowships of believers in those cities.  As a result, churches were birthed and strengthened and the focus in those fellowships was on Jesus as the Head and life-source of the community.  Leaders for those churches were trained and equipped through the apostolic ministry of Paul and Peter.  (see the book of Acts in the Bible for the story of how this happened).

I believe it is time for the restoration of true apostolic ministry to the Body of Christ here in America.  Let's pray that the Lord will prepare and raise up men and women who are called to this function here in our country.  True apostles will not build their own empires - they will build the Kingdom of God.   They will function through deep relationships of transparency and trust with other believers so that people can know them and see their character.  They will help to lay a foundation of sound doctrine in believers lives and will help us to know Jesus by the Spirit.   They will also function in teams with prophets and teachers to equip the Body of Christ.   Apostles function best in networks and in relational churches - I believe that is one reason why the Lord has brought the shift from institutional, program-based church to a more relationship based small-fellowship church over the last 15 years or so here in the United States.  This  (relatively) new church structure of servant leadership, relationship-based and small rather than hierarchical leadership, program-based and large is essential for the functioning of true apostolic ministry.

I am interested to hear your thoughts on this subject...
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