As we continue our look at the 13 essential characteristics o an apostle and thus an apostolic team let’s remember that this is important because Jesus is building His Church. As He does so there is a biblical pattern that has been established but ignored in the majority of the work being done today in church planting. The Bible states in 1 Corinthians 12:28 that in the church “first apostles…” As well, Ephesians 2:20 states that apostles form part of the foundational work needed to plant the Gospel in new territory and to form a strong foundation upon which Jesus then builds His Church. So, with this in mind, let’s continue to look at several more of the characteristics essential in the life and ministry of an apostle today.
8> A true apostle knows how to build group cohesiveness. They are never a one-man show. First, he must know how to gather a team and help them to become one – sharing one vision and one task, one hope and one plan. Withing this plan and the task at hand there are many variables and much room for creative thinking and planning, action and risk-taking. But, there is one goal, one vision, one direction, one desired end result.
This same group cohesiveness will eventually be seen in the local church that is raised up as the Gospel is planted in new territory. The leaders and members of the local church must share the same DNA and vision so as to moving together in one direction to become all that God has designed this local church to be and then do. In other words, like a city bus – this church will have a destination, a route, and a certain speed as it moves through the route making scheduled stops along the way. There will be a leader (the bus driver) and many active members but one common life being shared as they move towards a jointly shared and understood destination.
9> An apostle is committed to Church growth. An apostle understands that healthy disciples are reproducing bringing new disciples into the Kingdom and the local church. He also understands that healthy churches reproduce healthy churches. Thus, true apostles are committed to Church growth and will be constantly sharing the vision of disciple-making and church planting with everyone and anyone who will listen. A true apostolic church will also have disciple making and church planting as a vital part of their DNA. It won’t be a program that is added after the church is founded and established – it is a part of the very life and nature of the church right from the start. A church plant should be immediately planning to plant another church within a year or two of its own beginning. And, a new disciple should be taught immediately how to share their faith and influence others towards meeting Jesus and becoming one of His disciples.
10> If the apostle is married he must have spousal cooperation. Because of the amount of time and attention planting the Gospel and raising up a local church takes the spouse of the apostle will need to be completely on board with the specific task at hand. The spouse must be an active and willing participant in the work that the apostle is called to accomplish and thus an active and involved member of the initial team and a willing worker in the spreading of the Gospel into new territory for the Kingdom. This role may be limited by many factors such as the need to work to help support the household, the care of young children if a family is involved, as well as other factors such as age and health. But, the spouse must be supportive and cooperative.