When God sends an apostle, prophet, pastor, teacher, or evangelist, that person should be welcomed as such. Often when I travel people receive me as a “prophet” which then limits me so that I am unable to operate in the fullness of my apostolic calling and thus the anointing of an apostle. Some receive me as a “teacher” and even others receive me as a “pastor.” Sometimes this is because they have known me as a teacher or a pastor in the days before I was released as an apostle. Others see the powerful prophetic gift that apostles walk in – and instantly link it to the ministry of the prophet and so welcome me as a prophet. So, I understand what happens and why. However, those receiving the ministry God has given to me really don’t.
Furthermore, apostles are only able to operate in their anointing and calling when they establish a relationship. Everywhere I travel I attempt to establish long-term relationships. Seldom do those I minister for make any effort to continue the relationship after I leave. During the planning stages they agree that we need to be building relationally and long-term – however, it seldom comes to pass. So, it is not enough to just recognize an apostle as such – but there is also a need to build relationally if the fullness of his gift and calling are to be received and experienced.
Apostles and the apostolic anointings are fully operational where they are sent by the Lord; where they are welcomed and recognized as such; and where relational ties are established. That is the only way they can exercise the fullness of their “fatherhood” and the fullness of their apostolic calling.
To fully receive the benefits that accompany an apostle, he has to be accepted and welcomed as such. Matthew 10:40-41 states: “He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me. He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward. And he who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward.”
What is the reward of a prophet? The reward of a prophet is to receive the benefits of grace, favor, as well as the power and the anointing in which he operates. Why? Because when the gift is welcomed, the person is also welcomed along with the giver of the gift – Jesus – and that is why there is a reward. In fact, some say that the person who is the apostle is himself the gift due to Ephesians 4:8 which states “When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts to men.” And, in Ephesians 4:11 it states that Jesus gives gifts to the church “…some apostles…” So, you receive the man who is the apostle as a gift from the Lord and along with that you are welcoming the Giver, the anointing and power that an apostle walks in, as well as the grace and favor resting upon his life. That is a great reward and leads to great ministry and life-changing services.
So, what is the reward that a church receives when they welcome an apostle and his apostolic ministry? What benefit or reward does a leader receive when he or she decides to ask an apostle to speak into their life and ministry?
The grace, favor, and anointing that operate in and through the apostle will be imparted on the one who welcomes the apostle, his calling, his gifts, and the One who sent him. In my personal experience some ministries welcome the gift of teaching, or preaching, and often look to me as someone who can prophesy accurately and often (and so refer to me as a ‘prophet’) – this limits what I can accomplish to the area of my ministry that they are welcoming. If they see me as a teacher – they receive a teacher’s anointing and reward; as a prophet – a prophet’s anointing and reward… and so only see, experience, and receive a part of what is truly available within and through an apostle’s anointing and ministry. I cannot fully operate as an apostle in a church that welcomes me as something or someone else.
To receive the full benefits of the apostolic ministry, you have to willingly recognize him, give him the authority and honor in the church, and welcome him, as Jesus said. If not, you will not be able to see the powerful manifestations of the apostolic ministry. If you welcome a teacher, you will have the reward of a teacher; if you welcome and receive a prophet, you will have the reward of a prophet; if you welcome a pastor, you will have the reward of a pastor, and so on.
A good example of this: The apostle Paul spent three years in the church in Corinth, but the believers never recognized him as an apostle; quite the opposite – they accused him of not being one. That is why, in my opinion, the church of Corinth never became powerful. However, the same apostle spent three years in Thessalonica where he was welcomed as an apostle; that church became very powerful and with less members than the church at Corinth; they preached the gospel they heard from Paul and impacted thousands of people in the area with the power of God. This was made possible because Paul was able to influence them with his apostolic ministry; they accepted and welcomed him as an apostle; they respected and honored him, and in return, they received their reward.
“For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe.” 1 Thessalonians 2:13