An Apostolic Understanding – Part Forty-Six

We are seeing God establish the Church that Jesus is building. It is being built upon revelation. God is revealing to us the foundation, the design, the function, and the life of this new wineskin.

He is asking current churches to embrace the changes necessary to become a new wineskin. Some are catching the vision and this new move of the Spirit. Others are rejecting it. Those who reject it will see some of their members leave because they are individually sensing the move of the Spirit and the absence of life in the church. So, they will quietly leave in search of “life.”

And, those who are not hungry for more and are not experiencing divine discontent with what it … churches that don’t embrace this move of the Spirit will simply go on with their programs and events as if nothing has changed or is changing. They have not experienced His life and power in decades and will not want what they have not had. They cannot miss what they have not experienced. For them, it will be business as usual.

For those who move on and others who want to see the Church that Jesus is building – the question is where do we start? What are the first steps towards establishing a new wineskin and being a part of this new move of God towards an apostolic church?

So, let’s look at how we can cooperate with the Holy Spirit and build according to the biblical pattern. How do we transition from a pastoral model to an apostolic model?

1> The first step is recognizing that the pastoral model is not biblical and to recognize the need for a change to an apostolic model of the church. To see that programs and pastors are not doing what needs to be done to win the lost and see the Kingdom expanded.

2> Then there needs to be an apostolic alignment. You cannot make the transition alone or isolated from the fivefold ministry and others who are making this transition. You need to connect relationally with an apostle and, through them, with an apostolic network of churches.So, find one, take the time needed to build relationally, and learn all you can from the apostle.

3> Make sure that the believers you are working with have a good biblical picture and understanding of what a true disciple of Jesus (a Christian) is suppose to be. We are not called to be pew warmers. We are called to be the army of God on the earth. Communicate that vision to the church members.

4> Begin to equip the saints for ministry. Make training available. Offer classes and schools teaching people about the gifts of the Spirit, how to hear the voice of God, the gift of prophecy, evangelism, healing the sick, and deliverance. Out of this training time, meet with those who are submitted, mature, and effective, and form a team to move the church into the apostolic model. Also, release them to minister within the church – preaching, teaching, praying. In this way you will defeat the “man of God – one man ministry” pastoral syndrome and begin to instil the ‘every member a minister’ apostolic approach.

5> Remember that it takes time to change the paradigm of a group of believers. So, go slowly, be patient, teach, repeat often, and pray a lot.

As you go through this process you will need to give the people a new understanding of the way a local church functions. As you release the senior (and associate) pastors to actually find their true callings – you will need to explain that the role of “pastor” is a fivefold trans-local ministry and not a local church, resident ministry. That this established leadership role was never biblical and limits what a church can do and prevents a church from becoming what God intended it to become. And, teach that the oversight of the spiritual life of the local church is in the hands of a team of elders and not the task of a solo pastor or a board..

As well, you will need to come to understand how the fivefold ministry fits within this new structure of elders as leaders and the people as ministers.

One of the biggest struggles will be to find the fivefold ministers that you need to connect with. The biggest question for churches trying to transition to a fivefold ministry apostolic model is, ‘Where do we find fivefold ministers?’ This will be the same question raised by new assemblies of believers who are wanting to start their new church in the right way with the correct foundation (Ephesians 2:20).