In Corinthians, the Apostle Paul states that one man builds a foundation and another builds upon it. In a world where it has become possible to build a billion dollar business in a few years, it is perhaps more difficult to get a sense of generational building. I recently visited the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona and witness this incredible cathedral which has been under construction for over one hundred years. A foundation was built, a design laid down and now it is being built upon.
When it comes to the apostolic there is much for us to learn. Many revivals have occurred throughout history, many of which have resulted in new denominations. There has been nothing wrong with this but it is not difficult to observe that the energy of the revival which birthed the denomination is often lost in routine. It can then take people outside of that denomination to rediscover the value of what they experienced originally. There is a sense of this demonstrating building on the foundation of others but at the loss of some of the momentum.
We have also had a history of rejecting former moves of God or their leaders if they ended in failure or a moral fall. Fortunately, this was not the case with Solomon or we would be lacking a priceless foundation.
The apostolic is a reproducing dynamic. I would suggest that the pastoral tends to more of a replacement model. Reproduction builds on the foundation of others and finds its identity in fathers and sons. The family business which took hundreds of years to develop may not be so common but the heart of it remains of great value.
Learning to learn from those who have gone before is not new. It is the basis of history and theology but genuinely creating momentum and building is in need of some renewed emphasis which is coming from this apostolic approach. History is full of testimonies and we know from Revelation 19:10 that this becomes the spirit of prophecy. Building on the testimony of others is more than a natural progression – it has a supernatural dynamic. Seizing the victories of those who have gone before and embracing them in our cry for the future will focus on what God has done, rather than what man failed to do.
The threads of history are extraordinary, the simple connections between the Azusa revival and the Welsh revival are staggering. In more recent times we have seen the connection between Argentina and Toronto and there are examples in many more places.
A key to building on the foundation of others is to honour the past because as we do we are honouring revival or apostolic mothers and fathers and that will bring life.