Tuesday, March 30, 2010


I love "just thinking"... the notion of exploring theology, ecclesiology, sociology, anthropology... is a joy. Somewhere in this exploration the God moment comes when the light switches on, and then we understand. Few subjects have grabbed me more than 'apostles into the third generation'. History is so unkind to this conversation. What first generation apostles have invested their lives into, invariably institutionalize or implodes. I am just not convinced that this is what needs to happen. So every now and again you will read my reflections on this most worthy matter... here are some recent bullet points:


“Partnership around the Gospel…”

This is a conversation centered on the evolution of apo ministry into the third generation. The proposal is that Strategic Churches will be the hubs around which the future will be built. These bases are not to be headquarters but servants of the plants and pastors, enabling them to succeed but never creating dependence, empowering them to belong but never requiring allegiance… The matter still remains that we do not want to become a denomination, nor do we want to be without any shape or substance that folks can buy into. Here are some thoughts:

  • We believe in:
    • The power and centrality of the Gospel, Rom 1:1 + 15
    • The weight and power of the scriptures as the final authority for all doctrine, direction, discipline, design of church life, 2 Tim 4:1 – 3,
    • As lovers of Word and Spirit, we passionately embrace the partnership with the Holy Spirit, as we seek to be led by him, full of him, empowered by him, gifted by him… Jn 3, Acts 2,
    • The autonomy & self goverance of the Local Church, Acts20
    • The essential and foundational role of the Ephesians 4 fivefold ministry to these local churches, Eph 4: 11 - 16
    • Kingdom advancing, is seen through maturity of the believers, churches planted and the discipling of all nations… Col 1:6; 4:11 + 12
    • Jesus is coming back to a bride without spot, wrinkle or blemish… Eph 5
  • We see in scripture:
    • Elders work in plurality. Acts 20, 1 Pet 5,
    • Elders are the highest human authority of the local church, Acts 20,
    • There is no layer of authority between the local elders and God, Acts 20,
    • Apostles and prophets lay foundations, Eph 2:20, Acts 14,
    • Apostles partner with the local churches, Phil 1:4,
    • Strategic / base churches are the way in which these churches are served, Acts 13:1-3, Acts 14:21 – 28,
    • No organization / institution was formed, Luke 5:36 – 39 [new wineskins are continually needed] just apo spheres…
    • The letters written in Revelation were not sent to movements, or organizations – they were written to local churches – still the apple of His eye, Rev 2, 3,
  • Jesus as our apostle model,
    • He was the first apostle, Heb 3:1
    • He multiplied himself in the lives of 12 men, Mark 3:13 – 19,
    • He handed over his mantle and authority as an apostle to 11 men, not one only [no apo succession], so they could get to all nations, Matt 28:16 – 20
    • Jesus did not require them to remain one entity / organization/ institution other than “the bride”,
    • The 12 added 1 more before the Father added several more to the growing band of apo brothers, Acts 1:20 – 26, Gal 2,
    • Apostles were not the top / head of organizations or institutions. They are “first of all”, not “over all”, 1 Cor 12
    • There was no one apostle over all nations: Paul to the Gentiles, Peter to the Jews Gal 2,
    • There were more recorded apostles than any other Eph 4 giftings – they were quite ordinary but very essential, 1 Thess 1:1, 2:6,
    • They laid foundations, Eph 2:20,
    • They were masterbuilders, 1 Cor 3:10,
    • They partner with the other Eph 4 gifts in ever organic and fluid partnerships as the occasion required, Acts 11,
  • The strategic “base churches”
    • Great case studies in Jerusalem, Ephesus, and Antioch [our primary case study], Acts 11,
    • The risen Christ had lampstands in his hand for the churches in the book of Revelation. It seems that Christ gives specific churches that weighty responsibility, in his kind sovereignty- Rev 1 – 3,
    • Established in major, key cities that affect regions, Planted by apostles [or it seems they were very involved]
    • More than one apo involved - other Eph 4 gifts joined them,
    • Much attention, affection, instruction given to them,
    • Leadership seems to be given in plurality,
    • They resourced the new plants with leadership, finance, prayers, leadership training and ordination, Acts 14:21 – 28
    • They were compelled by the love of Christ and love for all the churches, 2 Cor 5:14, 6:12,
    • See the partnership of apos and prophets, Acts 11:25 + 27,
    • They facilitate key events – Acts 13, 15,
    • Base from which the Eph 4 ministries launched out, Acts 13:1- 4,
    • These gifts returned to the base and continued to play a very key role in the community, Acts 14: 26 – 28, 15:35,
    • It was a safe place to return to rest up, refresh, recalibrate, Acts 14:28,
    • These leadership forums offered desired not demanded accountability, Acts 15, Gal 1 + 2,
    • Their feedback to the base was essential, substantial and mobilizing, Acts 14:26 – 28,
    • They recognized and endorsed the new emerging apo gifts, Gal 2:9
    • Everywhere they went they impacted the marketplace Acts 19, and the poor Gal 2:10,
    • Not one organization was established that simply grew bigger, - that happened with the Catholic Church and every denomination since then… biblically many apo “households / spheres” were continuously being expanded, 2 Cor 10:13,
    • Churches they worked into were not required to singularly be attached to one of the apo’s, 1 Cor 3:1-8, 21 – 23, Gal 2, in fact Paul seriously challenged that notion – Not of Paul, Apollos, Cephas…
    • There was continuous commitment to plant new communities as well as partner with new churches, Col 1, [Paul planted Corinth but he never went to Colossae – yet in both churches he played a vital and essential role],
    • From the case studies, it is clear that there is not just one way/ model / pattern. Continuous conversations must facilitate the great trilogy of text, context and culture,
    • Unreached nations ever lay before them, 2 Cor 10:15 – 18,
    • I really like the following notions, yet I understand they are scaffolding that will require ongoing monitoring as they will evolve / change in the future:
      • “Fellowship of apostles” – a informal forum for apos to connect, hang out, dream together, journey together,
      • “Partnership of peers” – there is no need for apos to have someone over them nor even in front of them, more essential is that they choose those around them, so there are no mavericks…with all that brings.


  1. Since Jesus instituted Apostles as the Chief, it is a gift that will never fade or end, till He returns.

  2. How would be the basis of the other three gifts of EPH 4:11. Should we not be aiming more for a five fold model to ensure balance ?