I once ministered with a church leader who confessed to me that for years, whenever anyone of influence or significance got saved in his church, he would try and persuade them to go into church ministry. He thought that would be the best place to maximise their giftings and talents. He has since realised that the church sphere is just one realm of society and that there are others. He had a revelation that we need kingdom-minded people of influence and significance in all spheres. No one sphere is more or less holy than any others; God wants kingdom thinking in all of them!
This is part of the apostolic mindset. Apostles teach us to view all things from the perspective of bringing heaven to earth. This means we, as God’s people, live for cultural transformation. We want to see increase of heavenly values and decrease of worldly values. Having this apostolic mindset doesn’t mean we are an apostle, in the same way as being prophetic doesn’t mean we are a prophet! The apostolic mindset isn’t just a message; it is a way of life.
Desiring to see kingdom influence in all spheres of society means we must confront the belief that there is a secular / sacred divide. Surely anything unto God is sacred! In fact, in Eden God commissioned Adam to work. His ministry unto the Lord was worship, and his worship was his work! So who are we to reduce or devalue types of work, worker or workplace? We must be careful not to propagate the belief that there is such a divide in the kingdom. As soon as we value preaching, or missionary work, or paid Christian ministry over other vocations, we actually create a clergy and laity system, which in effect leads to second-class ministers! The fact is that many of us are called to be kingdom influencers within non-church spheres. We are all called to be ministers wherever the Lord has placed us. He wants his kingdom to increase everywhere, as the waters cover the sea!
This is why I don’t believe marketplace apostles are biblical. Ephesians 4:11-13 tell us that the apostle – and other fivefold offices – are given as a gift to the church, not the business world, to teach us a heaven to earth mentality. We can – and must – think apostolically in business. And not just in business! But the concept of a marketplace apostle actually reinforces a secular/sacred divide of church versus the marketplace, which in itself is counterproductive to the apostolic message. An apostolic leader in an area is not necessarily an apostle, but is one who is living for kingdom influence and increase in the area God has called them to.
Speaking of the kingdom is not meant to be new language or revelation trumps the church. The kingdom is not the ‘new thing’ God is doing, with the church being the ‘old wineskin.’ Last time I read, Jesus said he would build his church! We advance the kingdom as we live apostolically where God has placed us, but we must never neglect the church. After all, it is the Bride of Christ that Jesus is returning for, and he desires a beautiful bride!