"first of all apostles... last of all apostles..." [1 Cor 12:28 & 1 Cor 4:9]
We love the local church - that extraordinary community of the king who are on assignment to show the world just what he is like. She is the big story and we are eunuchs to this bride.
In our statement of faith we declare that:
"We believe in the church local, global and historical..."
The simple purpose of this blog is affirmation and instruction. In spite of much local church deconstruction, we do not believe that wherever two Christians meet over a beer that is the church. Rather, there is a glorious architecture that the sacred text lays out, as to what the church is biblically. We affirm that every local church is autonomous and elder governed. [Acts 20 and 1 Peter 5]
This community of the king exists to partner with Him - the Father in fulfilling his cosmic plans and purposes, the Son in declaring and demonstrating the gospel of the kingdom till his return, with the Holy Spirit as he transforms and empowers us on this great, global, gospel, mission.
But this blog puts an added lens on the partnership between apostles and the local church. From our side we believe that:
* the Ephesians 4 gifts exist to empower and equip every local church and believer on their journey,
* the local churches are to be multiplying, reproducing organisms and we are there to aid the process,
* each local church has a lamp stand [a divine mission] and the E4 gifts are there to ensure that they remain on track to fulfill this assignment,
* elders are the highest human authority in the local church, so we are to honor and respect them in that role, walking alongside them, not lording over them,
* believer empowerment is vital to this conversation - the E4 gifts are not to come and display their abilities to draw crowds, rather draw out these gifts in others, building faith and ownership,
* as architects and engineers [masterbuilders 1 Cor 3:10] the apostles seek to help the elders / pastors find the God dream for their community, then assist in giving it shape and form NOT impose a 'one size fits all' blueprint on all churches,
* apostles are needed especially when the church is being planted, replanted, enlarged and when trauma / destruction has ravaged the community,
* apostles are "sent ones". They need to put their feet on the ground to help lay foundations [digging theological, missional and community trenches] in these gospel communities. Therefore Paul worked with around 12 churches we think, and John with 7 in the book of Revelation. How can an apostle work with 100's of churches unless there are many apostles in the movement?
* apostles also call the leaders together [Acts 20]. At times the weight and mystery of this gift is needed to invest into the leaders for the chapter which lies ahead esp guarding the truth,
* apostles do create a sense of togetherness. I love what Terry Virgo drove as a prevailing energy in their story "together we can achieve more". Bringing churches together on a common mission is vital to this gift. Togetherness is a powerful weapon where we can achieve what no one church can achieve by themselves,
* apostles are "first of all" [1 Cor 12:28] as well as "last of all" [1 Cor 4:9] but the bible never says "over all" that papal posture is not in the text. Even the great Paul was never over all the churches. They break ground as well as lead a rearguard action but do not position themselves as being between the Father and the local churches - danger, danger, danger...
This is obviously not a comprehensive list of what apostles do. Rather, it seeks to simply give a peep into the way that the Lord is directing us. We do not wish to be critical or judgmental toward those who do it differently. There is a simple quest to be obedient on our part to that which the Lord requires of us.