By Dan Goddard
The church, irregardless of denomination, is called to walk in apostolic authority. Furthermore; it is crucial that the church recognize, and embrace apostles, and apostolic ministry: if she is going to mature, be equipped, and then be sent out to bring in the harvest of the nations! (Ephesians 2:19-22; 4:11-16)
** Evangelists, Pastors, and Teachers cannot bring the church into her destiny; without Apostles and Prophets playing the foundational roles! They must all function as a team!
We, the Church; must have a clear vision of apostolic ministry, and the ability to clearly recognize, and embrace, those whom Christ has appointed as apostles. If we do not have this discernment, we will fall into either deception, or; fear of deception: in which case, we will either embrace something false and controlling, or; shut out all Apostolic Ministry, and become controlling ourselves!
All too often, we identify Apostles as being: Missionaries, great network builders, heads of denominations, leaders of large ministries, church founders, those with powerful gifts and influence, and those with large followings of people.
Although some of these individuals may well be Apostles; I do not believe that they represent either the criteria for being an Apostle, or the distinguishing marks for recognizing an Apostle.
(1 Thessalonians 2:1-13) I believe that the First and Greatest mark of an Apostle is the heart of a father or mother that truly reflects the heart of Father God!
** True Apostolic ministry will always reveal God as a loving Father, and Jesus as being the Head of the Church, and the Source of Life!
I am convinced that true Apostles are recognized by their character and intimacy with God; far more than by what they say, and accomplish!
** The Fruit of the Spirit must be in abundant evidence; not only the Gifts of Power! (Galatians 5:22)
** The book of Philippians reveals the Heart and Character of Paul the Apostle, and Spiritual Father of Timothy.
*A servant heart
*Acknowledges his Spiritual Son as an equal
*Puts people ahead of titles and positions
*Imparts blessing and peace
*Carries the Church in his heart
*Intercedes for the Body of Christ
*Has deep intimacy with God
*Is a team player
*Imparts hope and vision
*Vulnerable and transparent.
*Openly displays tenderness and affection
*Has clear long term vision and focus
*Watches over and protects those he serves
*Prioritizes honoring people
*Passionate about unity
*A true mentor
*A successful Spiritual Father
*Secure in his identity
*Embraces brokenness and weakness
*Free from Fear of Man
*Puts people ahead of ministry
*Leads by example
*Has the ability to confront “in love”
*Builds relational networks
*Has an anointing for reconciliation
*Teaches clear, sound doctrine
*A lifestyle of thankfulness
*A powerful encourager
*Compassionate and loving
** An anointing of the Presence and the Peace of God
*** Is recognized as an Apostle by those he serves; yet never seeks to gain that recognition!