Apostles have a number of characteristics in common with each other. Previously we looked at four of these distinguishing character traits…
1< They have a tremendous visioning capacity 2> They know how to bring others to a place where there is ownership of the ministry
3> Apostles have a real heart for the lost and so relate regularly and easily to the lost
4> They are effective at building relationships within their community
Let’s look at four other characteristics…
5> Apostles recognize the giftedness and calling that is upon people and are constantly encouraging and releasing this giftedness within the church and ministry they are establishing. Apostles are able to prophetically see the giftedness of people, their role in the body, the supernatural gifts of the Spirit the person can flow in to successfully function within their role and calling. They understand where each person “fits” within the life of the local church and equips and enables the person to fit and function where they belong.
6> An apostle is flexible and adaptable. In fact, one of their favourite non-biblical proverbs is: “Blessed are the flexible for they shall not be broken.” Because apostles recognize that today’s church needs to be fluid because of the rapid and constantly changing culture and society in which we live – they understand that change is a constant in the life of the church, especially in a church plant.
Apostles and apostolic people find their stability in their relationship with The Lord who never changes. They do not find their identity or sense of worth in the ministry that they have or in the on-going life of the church that is being planted. They are releasing the life of God among the people and anything that does not enable or help to release and grow this ‘life’ is removed. So they travel light on the ‘organizational’ and ‘structure’ side of the ministry and are very flexible thus enabling them to respond quickly and effectively to the community they are working in. Change is expected and experienced regularly.
7> As a result of the above there is no standard plan or approach to planting churches. Because each and every location is different the apostle will seek The Lord as to the way a particular area can be reached and how the Gospel will be presented. The message never changes but the methods, approach, and the ways of planting the Gospel and thus birthing a church are constantly adjusting to the target community or people group being reached.
Once the work is established the apostle and his team remain very responsive to the community. As the community changes so does the way the apostolic work is being accomplished. The mission to reach the people for Christ and the Kingdom remains solid and firm; Christ remains the cornerstone of everything that is attempted in His Name. However, the way things are accomplished remain fluid and responsive to the community.