Nearly all of the ministries formed around these new young apostles follow the same governmental pattern: the apostolic leader carries the vision for the group, and is – functionally if not legally – the sole director or elder in the group. (It’s interesting that the ministries of more seasoned apostles do not seem to be limited to this model.)
Actually, this is clearly a biblical model for apostolic government: the ministry of Jesus followed that pattern: one leader (Jesus Himself) carried the vision, and everybody else (the multitudes, the 72, the 12, and even the 3 favorites) both submitted to His leadership and supported His agenda. I’ll comment on the relevance of this model in a moment, but for now, I’m just pointing out that this is the pattern that young apostles fall into: “I have the vision, and every one else gathers around that vision and supports it.” It’s not the only model, but it has been the most common so far among the young apostles I know.
In reality, the New Testament shows us several other models for the government of apostolic groups. Here are some that I’ve identified:
· Team Ministry: The Team of Two. For the majority of his travels,
· Team Ministry: Apostles and Others. Nearly every epistle in the NT begins and/or ends with greetings from a variety of people who traveled with
· The Apostolic Council: Jerusalem. Described in Acts 15, and led by the apostle
· Solo Apostolic Ministry: Apollos. It seems that much of the ministry of Apollos was solo; he appeared to generally travel alone. He’s not always recognized as an apostle, and his fruitfulness isn’t as well documented in the NT as apostles using other models: I’m not sure this is a model to emulate.
· The Apostle and Prophet: A model that is not uncommon today is an apostle teamed with a prophet; I can’t find a NT example of this team – though I note that the apostles Barnabas and Paul were called out to be apostles from a group of “teachers and prophets” – however the model is supportable by teaching in Ephesians and other places. Often, the apostle-and-prophet combination today shows up in married couples, but not often when leading a team of other anointed ministries. (Bethel Church, in Redding is one exception, though they don’t talk about it.)
· The Apostolic Father: Sometimes, we see the apostle as a father. If you read any of John’s epistles, you can hear the fatherly tone of his ministry. I don’t often see this in young apostles; though the “fathering” is often a part of their ministries, often it seems to come from other members of their leadership teams.
· The Apostle and his Disciples: As mentioned before, this was the model of
I understand that the current movement (which some are calling a New Apostolic Reformation) is young and therefore is not yet mature. I’m expecting that as the movement matures, we’ll begin to see more of these 20-something and 30-something apostles making use of more of these models, and no doubt developing new ones beyond these. That will be an exciting day: as the new generation of apostles begins to walk in maturity.
This is an interesting topical study on the different models of Apostolic ministry. You've obviously put some time into it. I'll probably be referencing your post in the next few days when I start busting out some posts on Apostolic ministry. God bless!
I've been thinking more and more about NT apostolic ministry, and I've recognized another characteristic of the apostolic: anonymity.
If you think about the original twelve, most of them are never heard from again. Most of them were named as being in the upper room (Mathias being notably absent), but never again until they’re referenced as a council in Acts, and as foundations in Revelation. Those are not insignificant references, but the point remains: most of their earthly ministry was in obscurity.
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