Apostleship is the spiritual gift and supernatural ability to pioneer new churches and ministries in unchartered territories and mentor others to successfully do the same.
The word Apostle comes from the Greek word Apostle that means to be “sent forth.” This word was originally used as a naval term speaking for the ships that would be commissioned to go into new territory through military expeditions. Some church planters and missionaries function in an apostolic gifting when they pioneer new churches and mentor spiritual sons and daughters from their own life experience.
Examples from the Scripture:
The Scriptures seem to reveal two categories of people who were called apostles. First we see what we will call the foundational Apostles who were chosen by Jesus and operated under a specific mandate to birth the Church. A few references to their unique purpose and function are found in the following verses: Acts 1:25, 1 Corinthians 15:8-10, and Ephesians 2:20. However, the New Testament also refers to a secondary category of believers who were not chosen by Jesus but are told to have possessed the gift of apostleship. This includes the following people: Barnabas (Acts 14:14); Andronicus and Junias (Romans 16:7); James (Galatians 1:19); Epaphroditus (Philippians 2:25); Apollos (1 Corinthians 4:69); Two unnamed apostles (2 Corinthians 8:23); and Timothy and Silas (1 Thessalonians 1:1; 2:6).
When this gift is present:
When the apostolic spiritual gifting is present in a local church, leaders and ministries will function in their proper alignment. Very much like a natural father or mother, those graced with the gift of apostleship bring order, security, affirmation, and empowerment to the household of God. With the presence of an apostle there will be great energy and focus on fulfilling the great commission through empowering others in their gifting to be “sent out” to fulfill what God has called them to do.
When this gift is absent:
There are two ways that the spiritual gift of apostleship can be missing in the body of Christ. It is possible to have people who claim to be apostles but are not truly called or gifted (2 Corinthians 11:5; 13). And it is also possible to have a void of this gift altogether (1 Corinthians 4:15). In both cases when the gift of apostleship is missing there will be little expansion of the Gospel into new territories, and leaders will lack spiritual fathers and mothers to help them mature.
In the Life of Jesus:
Hebrews 3:1 refers to Jesus as “the apostle and high priest” of our faith. The life of Jesus is the perfect example of what it means to be an apostle. Jesus was “sent forth” from the father on a mission to “seek and save the lost,” but he did not try to do this all on his own. He planted a church (Matthew 16:19) and empowered and discipled people around him. He then sent them forth on a mission.
* Are you called and qualified to pioneer a new church?
* Do you minister effectively cross culturally?
* Do people look to you as their spiritual covering?
* Take our free spiritual gift test
Practical ways to implement and develop the spiritual gift of Apostleship:
* Find a mentor who has demonstrated the spiritual gift of apostleship over a long period of time.
* Talk with your mentor about the desire to start a new ministry or church.
* Check out our Bible Studies on spiritual gifts.
* Check out our videos and interviews.
* Church Planter
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