The Church is called to be apostolic in nature. That means it is built upon the foundations of the apostles and prophets (Ephesians 2:20) and that the church has the fullness of the five-fold ascension gifts (Ephesians 4:11) functioning locally. God desires every local church to have all five ministries (callings, roles) functioning in a healthy local assembly. And, to have other trans-local five-fold ministries come in to minister as well. This keeps the local church from becoming isolated.
All five-fold ascension gifts are set (tithemi) in a local church to “perfect the believers for the work of the ministry.” Every believer is called to be in a local church so that they can be discipled, ,equipped, trained, mentored, and released into their ministry. Every believer is called to be in a local church and take on for himself or herself the responsibility for that church’s success. The church is not there to make you (and your ministry) successful. You are there to help that local church (and its leadership) fulfill the calling, purpose and plans of God for that assembly.
The local church is an apostolic center with various duties such as:
- Gathering together to worship and celebrate our God
- A house of prayer for all nations
- A platform for the prophetic (a place to hear the voice of God)
- A training center
- A resource center
- A place to receive personal ministry
- A seat of divine government
- A launching pad for apostolic teams
- A place for church planting teams to be trained and sent out
- A place of revelation
- A place to disciple, equip, train, and mentor believers
- A place of impartation, confirmation and activation
- A place of family ministry
- (and most important) an outreach center to see the lost saved
This last function of all churches – but especially paramount for an apostolic church – must permeate the entire life of the local church. Seeking and saving the lost becomes the raison d’etre (reason to be) for an apostolic church. This focus is front-and-center in all aspects of the life of the local church.
The local church is not just a place where two believers meet together in prayer over a cup of coffee. A church has a governmental function. Every local church has a “set man.” The word declares, “let the LORD, the God of the spirits of all flesh, set a man over the congregation.” (Numbers 27:16)
A set man is one who is called by our Lord Himself as the leader of a local church. This person is given four things … Vision, Anointing, Authority and a Territory or jurisdiction (metron) with limitations (kanon).
Other leaders will be drawn to the vision of the set man. The set man will recognize the call of God upon these various leaders, identify the grace upon their lives, and set them in eldership. An eldership is a group of ascension gift ministries, identified, chosen, and confirmed by the set man, who help carry the spiritual burden of the local church. They represent the spiritual government of the local church.
The development of a local church eldership may take years. It is the sole responsibility of the local church’s set man to identify and assemble the eldership. The set man also has the right to change the eldership team if required (but only for reasons as stated in scripture).
An apostolic eldership is made up of the three governmental ascension gifts of apostles, prophets and teachers(1 Corinthians 12:28, Acts 13:1, 1 Timothy 4:14). Evangelists and pastors may also be called upon to serve. In other words, at the set man’s discretion, pastors and evangelists may or may not be part of the local church’s governmental eldership.
However, it is the set man’s responsibility to identify others who have a pastoral grace on their lives and set them in position to help nurture the church’s members. Their responsibilities include: meeting special needs, counseling, weddings, funerals, times of crisis, emergencies, and specialized ministries. They provide assistance to the set man, the ministry’s eldership and the local congregation.
The set man will also recognize the full time (vocational) evangelist’s ascension gift and help to build an evangelistic team around that gift.
This eldership is a team charged with the general spiritual oversight of the local church. Their ministry is to oversee, impart, confirm, activate, send, and administer discipline if necessary.