We are looking at the role of the fivefold ministry in church planting today as we continue to work of taking the Gospel of the Kingdom to all nations. Especially the role of the apostle.
The apostles especially have an important role to play in planting churches because they are the establishers, master builders, and architects. Their essential call is to plant new churches as they reflect the intent of their Sender, Jesus Christ. While they do not necessarily plant all of the church plants, it is important for them to obtain experience in church planting before they are declared apostles. They need to know what others will go through. Because they have already done it, they have faith to see it happen again and train others.
When you are around an apostolic person, faith overflows and feeds into you and causes you to believe that you can accomplish what God is telling you to do. An apostle is always thinking about expansion, planting new churches, seeing the lost saved, and expanding what already is.
Someone with a pastoral anointing will have a hard time seeing the need to plant a church. He will be satisfied to help elders of existing churches learn how to pastorally care for the sheep under their care. He does not feel the need to plant another church. It takes someone with an apostolic anointing to jump start leadership into recognizing that they can send out some of their current members under apostolic oversight to plant a new church and keep the zeal for winning the lost alive and growing in the hearts and lives of the people and existing local churches.
An apostle will think in terms of sending out the best to get the job done while others may want to hold on to the best to help the already existing church to function smoothly. Local churches and the elders overseeing the work of the local church need the apostolic gift to help them think outside the box and dream.
An apostle understands that God’s desire is that none should perish. Knowing the heart of the Lord, the Head of the Church, requires that we continue to plant many more churches. We cannot be content with the status quo. In fact, if we are content with the stars quo, many more people will enter a Christless eternity and the Kingdom will not advance, and that is the worst case scenario there is for an apostle.
The apostolic gift will activate and impart spiritual gifts.
Paul anticipated that Timothy would need to act on what he had learned and what had been imparted into him through the laying on of hands of the apostles and prophets. 1 Timothy 1:8 states, “Timothy, my son, I give you instructions…according to the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may wage the good warfare…”
Paul’s apostolic gift was used in his relationship with Timothy to fulfill his God-given destiny. He understood the tactics of the enemy and encouraged Timothy to press through. Timothy was used tremendously by the Holy Spirit in the early church plants. Timothy was an apostle trained and equipped, discipled and mentored, by Paul. So, the point is that we can’t just sit on what we have heard and learned. We need to do something with those words. Apostolic leaders encourage their people to activate and use their gifts and move out into their calling.