This is part of a series of messages that were preached at the Regions Beyond India Leaders meeting at Igatpuri . This message is a Questions and Answers session relating to apostolic partnership and leadership in a church. This is Part 1.Regions Beyond, is a part of Newfrontiers Intl. You can listen to the audio by clicking here.
What are the characteristics of an apostle?
1. An Apostle is to go into a new areas and open it up for the gospel.
2. Other apostles would recognize them.
3. Local church would receive their ministry .
Apostolic ministry is invited in by the local church and not imposed. So you don’t have a ‘national’ apostle and that’s not what we see in the Bible.
4. There were signs and wonders that accompanied them. It’s a reminder that we depend on God.
5. There is never ever any apostolic succession that is passed on from one apostle to another. It’s God given.
Steve Oliver’s heart is for the multiplication of the apostolic gifts but it takes time. It would be a mistake to call something apostolic when it’s not. So we have apostolic delegates and see how it goes before we call them apostolic.
The apostolic gift is not one distinctive- not exactly the same. Steve Oliver is an apostle who leans more towards prophetic. Stephen van Rhyn is an apostle who leans more towards teaching. So it comes in various shades.
At the moment, Steve Oliver is the sole recognized apostle but there are others emerging and Steve’s role is to identify them.
Q 1. How do you communicate the Apostolic Partnership to new church plants where no direct apostle is seen?
A. Do Phil 1- we are a people who are in a bigger narrative and speak of how you are connected into Apostolic Partnership. If you are building it yourself, they will not know about Apostolic Partnership.
When you go back, gather your leaders and share the things that God has impacted you for the next season so that you get them caught up with it.
Steve Oliver would travel 13 hours to spend time with Simon Petit. Simon Petit came to their church only twice but the whole church knew him. At any opportunity they would take as many people along with them and would pray a lot for Simon and Lindsay- they stayed in touch with Simon. Feed stories to the church all the time.
Q 2. What level of involvement should the Apostle have in the day to day working of the church?
A. remember that it’s relational. Paul knew the people in the church. In Colossians he wasn’t directly involved but only spoke about a few people whom he must have met.
We have to have our levels of expectations real. We believe in the autonomy of the local elders. Because God has appointed them, I trust them. When I am with them, they will ask questions. I have a gift of faith for some people and help to unlock that but the local leaders are responsible.
You can ask Apostles about nuts and bolts but it’s really the eldership role. Apostolic ministry is there to cast vision for the future, provide us a plumb-line for doctrine and catches us up in vision. Nuts and bolts is not priority. Ray Lowe is a nuts and bolts guy and is great at that.
The Apostle is not a head office. It’s a relationship- they must be accessible.
New Frontiers is not into titles, which makes us normal people. When you add a title you get a separation.
We go forward- we want to see many master-builder gifts being raised up. We also want key gifts (not apostles) raised up who can carry more weight beyond the local church so that the local church becomes a base for influence for the area around.
Q 3. Which apostle needs to recognize an apostle?
A. When Terry recognized apostolic gifts there were other apostolic gifts raised. When Paul went to Jerusalem, the apostle gave him the right hand of fellowship.
In Regions Beyond when I recognized other apostolic gifts I will call other friends to help recognize them before we set them apart public ally.
Q 4. Ephesians 4 speaks about Apostles and Prophets. How do we work out the building foundation with the prophetic? Do we have recognized prophets?
A. in Ephesians 4 it is not speaking about the prophets of the Old Testament but the prophetic gift of the New Testament. The prophetic gifts amongst us is key to apostolic ministry. So even in these days we have given a lot of importance to the prophetic.
In Regions Beyond the prophetic is a constant friend. I want to hear what God want to say- then we can fulfill it. So the prophetic is key.
(Steve R) 1 Cor 12: This is an important scripture. It’s not saying Apostolic is more important than the prophetic. Apostolic ministry creates the context in which we prophesy. The relationship between the two is really important. I am encouraged by the prophetic gifts that tie in with the apostolic ministry. Keep prophecy in the apostolic ministry. It’s good.
We have one or two really good emerging gifts. Gavin Northcote is very prophetic. Over all, we have work to do. For a season as we have multiplied into regions we have concentrated on the apostolic. We need to see more prophetic. Terry echoes the same theory- we need to see prophets raised up.
For all the gifts- don’t get caught up with a recognition moment but just keep doing it. Create an environment where the gifts are encouraged.
One of the things Paul did was always scouting for gifts with the local leaders and those gifts need to be drawn together for training and equipping.
At the HUB we want all with the prophetic gift to meet in the morning to stir up these gifts. I did not just happen. I was preparing for 5 years with Terry Virgo- learning and debating.
Q 5. Can you explain a little more on New Frontiers India- 2 different spheres?
A. When I invited Stephen van Rhyn to come I encouraged him to go and spend time with Vinu and others. Within New Frontiers, we had one recognized apostle, Terry and maybe a few more. Then we multiplied into many a BIG change took place.
Before everyone was in Terry’s apostolic sphere. But when Terry stepped aside, 17 spheres emerged. We said to the churches the way an apostle works is through relationship and not geography. So churches are aligning with the apostle you have a relationship with.
So you have a apostle with Vinu and us, which have mission and calling together. Because of gifting it will express itself differently. So we must learn to work together. People will try and work against each other- be careful.
There might come a time when we will release some churches into another apostolic sphere for the purpose of gospel advance. The key is that it’s all for Jesus. We are not the only show in town. That’s how cults work. It’s destructive. So let’s celebrate each other and speak positively about each other.