The Apostle John recorded that Jesus said, “as the Father has sent (apostled) me, so I send (apostle) you.” Many things have changed in our world but this is a clear statement that all of us in a relationship with Jesus Christ are sent ones. Since then there have been many discussions, examples and at times divisions over the use of the title ‘Apostle.’
As I have reflected on this I have concluded that when the discussion is focussed on structure or activity, there is a tendency to move away from the very nature and meaning of the words ‘apostle’, ‘apostolic’ and ‘apostleship.’ The interpretations will vary especially in relation to the individual activities, structure and emphasis of that particular Apostle.
I began to look at the characteristics of the apostolic, not emphasising particular activities such as church planting or networks but rather on expressions and outcomes which are biblically and universally connected to Apostles. They are:
* An empowering culture which sends, promotes and celebrates.
* A shared experience of Hope & Joy
* An emphasis on relationship rather than structure
* The demonstration of supernatural power
* An assignment to represent Christ who in turn reveals the Father
* Strengthening & encouraging interactions with each other
* Awareness and value for the unseen realm
* An ongoing relationship with God, who speaks today
* The instinctive confronting of the impossible
* The embracing of mystery
* Building on the foundation of others
* Has ongoing encounters with God
* Perseverance that never quits
Of course, there are more and each of these can be further dissected and defined. In our quest for the apostolic, each of us can embrace these. If we have not yet ‘found’ our earth-based Apostle then we can continue to follow Jesus. Doing what he did and saying what he says will cause us to live from an apostolic mindset.
You are apostolic and Jesus is the first Apostle. As you live out of these characteristics you will create around you an apostolic culture. You do not need to be the leader to do this or have a title, but as you live these values out you will fulfil the apostolic commission of Jesus. He sent us, to bring heaven to earth and to expand the influence of His Kingdom to every corner and sphere of this world.