Building a Powerful Church to Thrive in a Time of Crisis – Part 2

By Scott Webster
Oct 7, 2013
The Emergence of Apostolic Builders

A move of God has been sweeping across  the earth for the last 20 years. The apostolic reformation has been powerfully impacting churches and reforming systems, and the emergence of a people who are coded for obedience and committed to correct building has served as an unseen catalyst for many of the more obvious movements taking place in the political, economic and social realm of  human life. Many may not be aware of this move of God because modern reformers are not marketing their message to fit within the ‘Christian’ global distribution network that originates in the perceived superior jurisdictions of the earth. In fact, in breaking with the traditional operations, activity and philosophies, the reformer's message invalidates much of what is considered to be the acceptable activity of the modern church. This present reformation represents a new wineskin that contains the fresh initiatives released by God that will take us towards the Finish.

 

Distortion and Misperception

The terms “apostle” and “reformation” have come into extensive usage in the modern church. Unfortunately, in many cases they merely describe the same reality that existed before the terms became popularized and widely adopted. In fact the declaration of “reformation” and “apostolic” to describe very dissimilar entities and vastly different spiritual realities has filled the church with “fuzz” and a lack of clarity about the present speaking of God. Distortion of God’s speaking in the minds of people is a primary way the enemy opposes Kingdom advance. Deception is not the absence of hearing, it is a spin on what is heard; it does not stop you from seeing, but it twists what you see in order to take you off track. This type of distortion definitely occurred in the prophetic movement that I was a part of 20 years ago. While it was a genuine move of God and the prophetic was restored to the Church with new power and clarity, it also produced a morass of self-proclaimed “prophets.” In the face of religious tradition and ignorance, which historically rejected their valid function, these “prophets” partially thrived on a slight over-emphasis of defending the veracity of prophets. The resultant effect today is having thousands of prophets, conferences, websites and ‘words from the Lord’ but a great dearth of insight and correctness, just the opposite of what the real prophetic fathers desired.  Ironically while every prophet we see in the Word of God was a builder and a reformer, this misrepresentative prophetic order is nearly completely focused on blessing and is largely irrelevant to the purposes of God today. Distortion has  largely robbed the Church of the correct function that the prophet is supposed to bring. The same kind of thing is occurring with the apostolic, which has already been twisted into many imprecise forms and definitions including: a) the apostolic is a superior office which exists at the top of a competitive and hierarchal ministry  structure b) the apostolic is a promotion earned through decades of dedicated pastoral service c) “apostle” is a title given to one who plants churches or travels extensively d) an apostle is the leader of a large church or ministry with influence beyond their local boundaries. In fact none of these are Biblical definitions of an apostle. In light of the distortion there must be clear definitions, describing the work of these leaders, along with actual building activity that attests and validates a new order of ministry.

 

Definitive Characteristics of Apostles

The following brief list is neither exhaustive nor exclusive, but it does point towards some primary characteristics we can see in the Word of God regarding the ministry of an apostle, as wise master builders who possess:

  1. Power to breakthrough in the spirit realm and experience resultant territorial expansion;
  2. Ability to build global relational networks and international entities, unhindered by national or cultural norms, that leverage the strength of many from across the earth towards singular Kingdom purpose;
  3. Insight into the mind of God regarding the accurate blueprints for correct human life, and the power to construct those designs in the lives of people;
  4. Capability to leverage insight and building strategies into the wider expressions of the Kingdom of God and resultant influence into ex-church structures and systems of the earth;
  5. Capacity for powerful revelation and ability to open people’s eyes, building  within them correct perception systems;
  6. Ability to strip prophetic promises of their futuristic dimension and execute the will of God in the present.

Using these criteria, we recognize the probability of fewer global apostles rather than more, and a number of wrong definitions for what qualifies one to be an apostle are eliminated.


Apostles, Building & Architecture

Corinthians 3:10
By the grace God has given me, I laid
a foundation as an expert builder, and
someone else is building on it. But
each one should be careful how he
builds.

For the purposes of God to come to a place of completion, the Church existing at the time of the End must be triumphant and must exist within an apostolic context defined by a primary emphasis on architecture and building. This can be understood as a series of realities, truths and positions that provide order and definition to our world, thus creating a framework for how we are to live in the earth. The apostolic dimension is a primary component that has been added to the other ministries of Ephesians 4 for a powerful end time church. We are in a time in which a global Apostolic Reformation has been initiated by the emergence and correct functioning of apostles.

Paul was an apostle who had clear prophetic sighting of the architecture and, from that place of wisdom and clarity of the design, called others into partnership and correct building within the approved shapes given to him by God (1Corinthians 3:10). His calling to be an apostle carried a grace or a deposited capacity for “structured sight” – that is the basis for using the word architecture (the ability to see structures, shapes and forms from the inside out).

Principle of Accuracy

Ezekiel was taken up into God’s mind and he saw an angel measuring every dimension of life in Israel, and was clear that what had been built on the earth did not match the blueprint in God’s mind (Ezekiel chapters 40-47). The prophet declared that the people had put their own doorposts next to God’s doorposts, and their thresholds next to God’s thresholds, and therefore they had violated or defiled the building (Ezekiel 43:8). Our ability to build is polluted when we put our own perspective of the global financial crisis against God’s perspective, or when a church is culturally based or adopts the latest model of ministry rather than God’s correct standards. Human/carnal standards of life defile correct building, therefore leaders of churches need to operate within an apostolic context framework to activate their sense of design which they build against. One of the primary functions of the apostolic is to look at what is built and compare it to the  pattern to see if it matches up, and to assist the people in building correctly.  Paul said he laid the foundation and another built on it, but that “each man should take heed at how he builds.” Every person is required to be a builder, and each should be careful how they build, or ensure they are building in compliance with the divine blueprint. So the word accuracy is being redefined from describing the correct details of a prophetic word (that prophecy was accurate!) to describing the correct structures of life. We know one can prophesy accurate details but be rejected by God (Matthew 7:21). The principle of accuracy requires that each aspect of our life and the totality of the Church must be built according to Divine specifications, which the grace of God empowers us to do through relationship to the apostolic. The church today is coming into clarity of divine design, which is not a “new model” of church, but an ancient reality that has always existed in God’s mind and one that must be built in the earth by an apostolic company. That ancient pattern is now accessible by powerful revelation given to apostolic leadership being raised up by God and distributed through correct relationship. It is a time to focus on building, and to emphatically understand and participate in the reality of true apostolic ministry being released by God into the earth.

 

Q&A  Apostolic Builders

I have heard the apostolic referred to as being “relational”. What does that mean?

Paul dispatched spiritual sons as apostolic delegates to the churches he was in relationship with, who were required to receive them as if Paul himself had come, revealing a rich series of inter-connected relationships which formed the substructure for apostolic operations (2 Corinthians 7:15). The richness of apostolic relationship can be clearly seen in Paul’s interaction with the leaders of the church at Ephesus. Paul warns the church that upon his leaving them that savage wolves would come among them and not spare the flock. What grieved the people unto tears was not being spiritually attacked, but that they would not see Paul’s face again (Acts 20:28). Paul carried the churches in his heart, and provided them with instruction, correction and strength as he continually sought to ensure their firm establishment in Christ (2 Corinthians 11:28). He told the Corinthians to “make room for us in your hearts”, and he based his claim on their affection, on the fact that his apostolic relationships were pure and free of exploitation (2 Corinthians 7:2). This kind of relational richness and human connectivity around divine purpose forms the infrastructure of true Kingdom advance.

 

What do you mean when you say the main role of the apostle is to release an “apostolic dimension”?

The engine that powered the advance of the church was a component of Christ’s character called apostolic grace that was resident within Paul. Along with his team, Paul served as a distribution point of the grace to all who were correctly related and joined (Ephesians 3:2; Philippians 1:7). The word used in Ephesians 3:2 when Paul said “you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which was given to me for you” can also be translated as administration or distribution. The people were supposed to receive the apostolic dimension, Paul was not the objective or destination of the impartation, and it would have been a gross violation to use the impartation given to him by God to build his own thing. The grace has to be distributed to the people, so the apostle has to know how the grace works in his life and the people have to know they are joined and what is the nature of the impartation.

Paul expected everyone to be completely and radically transformed by the impartation of the grace to the degree that nothing of their past life, including natural personality, family or marriage norms, nor national origin would be the same once they interacted with the impartation that came from God (2 Corinthians 5:17-19). Those in correct relationship to the grace were transformed as leaders of churches and empowered to fully come into their destiny by virtue of the apostolic impartation (2 Timothy 2:1-7).

 

There seem to be many apostolic networks being raised up, is that Biblical?

While not every leader is an apostle, there are examples of many apostles functioning in the Word of God and there should be multiple apostolic networks in the earth today, each one led by a functional apostle with a unique and specific calling and purpose. Each true apostle must have clear discernment regarding the allocated sphere of apostolic authority given by God. Paul was very clear about the boundaries of his measure, and he definitively rejected competition and unethical means of extending his global measure by falsely claiming another’s labor (2 Corinthians 10:13-14). It would be quite ridiculous to claim an apostolic measure, but then engage in competitive or unethical means of advancing one’s network or ministry. For apostolic networks to compete would be completely schizophrenic: embracing the dimension of Christ which is apostolic on the one hand, while rejecting His nature and character on the other. Unfortunately, this schizophrenia has not always been discerned and there is a toxic reality in the earth in which men compete for measure and rule, a reality that is certain to be judged in the end. Lack of recognition of rank leading to false claims of measure is one of the primary pollutants among pseudo apostolic movements.

Comments

Stanley Mushanga | Kenya | December 28, 2013

This article is very insightful.

Stephen Johnson | USA | January 25, 2014

Scott, in the Definitive Characteristics of Apostle, point 4 you refer to “ex-church structures”. What do you mean by this term?

martin | | January 26, 2014

I Like This,this is present truth

james gungadeen | Mauritius | March 26, 2014

i like it

Warren Joseph | Antigua and Barbuda | April 16, 2015

This helps me sooo much. It brings much needed clarity.

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