In every transformative, missional movement there is a powerful form of influence that weaves its way through the chaotic network of churches and believers. There is no other substantial word for this catalytic influence other than to invoke the age-old biblical language of “apostolic”. Wherever and whenever the church has significantly extended the mission of God or experienced rapid growth there has always been apostolic leadership present in some form or another. Contemporary apostolic ministry is a gifting that continues and enhances the original work of the New Testament apostles, particularly The Twelve.
The apostolic leadership dynamic that needs to be emphasized is that of servant-inspirer, not one who “lords it over others”. It is more about spiritual authority than it is about organizational governance. Genuine apostolic ministry is authenticated by suffering and empowerment rather than by positional authority. It draws its authority from service and calling, from moral and spiritual influence.
While the apostolic role is essential and catalytic to movements, God has provided at-least fivefold ministry to produce healthy Jesus movements. It is critical for healthy church that all disciples discover their ministry spheres and that leadership is built squarely on fivefold ministry.
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