As we continue our look at the calling, ministry, and role of an apostle in the Church today, let’s look at apostles working together.
Although there are many different types of apostles mentioned in the early church, let’s look briefly at the Paul-type apostle and Timothy-type apostle and their corresponding roles.
A Paul-type apostle is an overseeing apostle. This kind of apostle is sent by the Lord with a vision burning on his heart to establish a family of churches, and it will burn in his heart until he fulfills it. The blueprint and vision come from the Lord. His call is affirmed by other apostles and spiritual leaders in the body of Christ, the Church (Galatians 1:18-22). This kind of apostle has a burden to see God’s people gather as a united force, and he also has the ability to sense the heartbeat of what the Lord is speaking to a particular family of churches.
An overseeing apostle gets his authority from the Lord (Galatians 1:1), and God equips him for his work, supplying him with the supernatural faith and perseverance to see this vision become a reality. The Lord brings others alongside an overseeing apostle to fill in what is lacking in his gifts so the vision can be fulfilled. Paul recognized that Peter was an apostle to the Jews, and he was called by God to build the Church among the Gentiles. Additionally, a team of apostles served with him (1 Thessalonians 1:1).
A Timothy-type apostle helps the Paul-type. The Timothy-type apostle is affirmed and commissioned to help fulfill the vision received from the Lord by the Paul-type apostle. He is sent by the Paul-type apostle with specific instructions and mandates that will contribute to the main goal the Lord has given to the apostolic team. His field of ministry is limited to that which he was sent to do (1 Corinthians 3:5-15). He is the father to the churches he plants (2 Corinthians 10:13-18). His sphere of ministry is given to him by the Lord and by the overseeing (senior) apostle with whom he serves. Timothy and Titus were sent by Paul to establish elders and oversee churches (1 Timothy 1:1-4; Titus 1:5).
The Corinthians we Paul’s “seal” of his apostleship (1 Corinthians 9:1-2). That is, they were the spiritual fruit of his labours among them. They were proof that God really “gave the increase.” The proof is in the tangible results of changed lives. Also indicative of modern day apostles are supernatural signs, wonders, miracles, and perseverance (2 Corinthians 12:12). Those is apostolic authority should especially bear credentials of demonstrating and imparting a supernatural dimension of the Kingdom of God.
If we are to believe for the supernatural, the apostles should be leading the way, sharing vision and raising the expectations of the people that they serve, demonstrating the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus, our apostle of apostles, came to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom and demonstrate the power of the Kingdom. Apostles are to carry on that heritage.
More next time…