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March 02, 2010

Comments

Larry Baxter

Wow! I love it! I've really NOT read or even thought much about apostolic leadership today, but what you've written here is the clearest summary that I've seen. It's so true that God gives ALL these leadership roles to equip His people and build up His church. (#1)

Idea #3 really emphasizes what it means to be sent - to be commissioned, and to have One from who he is sent. #4- the idea of linking churches together is obvious in Scripture but one I've never really caught til you mentioned it. Kind of makes GCC an apostolic church (if there is such a thing). Phrasing of #6 is awesome :) In some sense I think of that as being the duty of the prophet though? On #7 it is telling that you included both *servant* leader and idea that they are sent *by* local churches (more accurately, sent by God, recognized and supported by a local church). Those are two key patterns seen in Acts.

So... how does this understanding of apostolic leadership motivate or inform you, considering Raj's words? And - if this is an accurate biblical picture of apostolic leadership, what does it mean for the church at large?

tony sheng

i love this because i see some of it in myself. and i love the phrasing of #6. and i would love to know what your APEST results are.

Rob Wegner

Larry,

Thanks for the feedback. I do think there are apostolic churches and GCC is one of them. However, I think it’s God’s design for EVERY church to be apostolic. Most churches have such a narrow focus on the pastoral role that they never see their “field” of leadership grow beyond the pastor and teacher functions. Some churches, like those who have pursued a Purpose Driven/Willow/Northpoint model, grow into the evangelist field, as well. But, hardly any grow into the prophet and apostle field. None the less, I do believe it’s God’s design for ever church.

On #6 you are right, the prophet is the one who asks the irritating questions and speaks the prophetic word that drives us toward the poor, the marginalized and the lost. But I believe it’s the apostle who actually takes the machete, marches into the jungle, and clears the path for the church to follow on.

You asked, “So... how does this understanding of apostolic leadership motivate or inform you, considering Raj's words? And - if this is an accurate biblical picture of apostolic leadership, what does it mean for the church at large?”

This understanding of how these five functions interact has brought tremendous clarity not only to my present and future, but my past, as well. What I was doing “accidentally” in the past, I can do intentionally in the future. Regarding the church at large, this kind of leadership is functioning powerfully in the church in many places in the world (china, India, Latin America, etc.). As the church in the West wakes up to this, it will serve to enhance and accelerate what I hope will be a global move of God that will turn the Great Commission into the Great Completion.

Lucas Miles

Rob,

Hey man, thanks for including me on this. Great read - I really dug the article. I've been considering a lot of these same things for awhile now as we continue moving forward with OasNet. In fact, a few years back I wrote an article about apostolic ministry, I thought you might enjoy it. I couldn't find it on my blog, so I reposted it as my newest entry. Here is the link, http://lucasmiles.wordpress.com/. Love to dialog on this stuff further. Appreciate all you do.

Paul Wirth

WOW! The idea of seeing His Kingdom come and His will done on earth is captured in these various rolls. What I am finding out in my own journey is that as religious institutions we have tried to choose one or two rolls and say that this is our focus and in doing so we have not been fully functional as the Body of Christ. We have chosen to be special opps churches instead of fully functional churches. I think much of this happens because of the old paradigm that says "The pastor must be "the be all end all" The problem is one person cannot function in all of the rolls unless he is Schizophrenic, which some of us are at times. But I digress. These principles found in Ephesians can and should be quite freeing for leaders in the local church because it lays out the team concept for ministry. But it also does not give us a pass on failing to engage what is going on in our culture and in our world. We must find someone in our ministry to be the apostle. The one who challenges the social norms and pushes people from comfort and complacency to commitment and change. Having the rolls defined in such a clear fashion helps to identify people already serving and give them fuel for their rolls. This model brings amazing clarity to the call of the local church. a breach in the flow of the system can lead an organization to a lack of unity, a lack of maturity and ultimately a lack of seeing the fullness of what God has for them. That fact along is scary and exciting all at the same time. When the body of Christ begins to function this way it will not be about competition any longer but about advancement of the Kingdom. I am pumped like never before about the road that lies ahead. Let the journey begin.

Rob Wegner

Paul, I love your emphasis on the freedom that is implicit in this. It is both, scary and exciting, which are two defining characteristics of anything new move of God.

Edgar Cabello

Hey Rob...I think #5 (Acts 29) was an interesting faux pas, but really powerful. That is a great articulation of the role of the apostle who really brings high impact leadership to and through the church. As a 'pastor' it is very limiting to carry the 'pastor' title as very few key church leaders really have the pastoral/shepherd gift as their developing & prominent gift. Unfortunately so much of the 'pastor's' time and energy gets exhausted on caring for internal mechanisms and existing structures within the local church. There really isn't a framework for the apostle in the local church....we've basically replaced the role with a missions program that satisfies the 'sent one' facet of the 5-fold dynamic. Leaders who travel, often get chastised & or replaced for leaving home base. Sounds to me like you are fulfilling the role of apostle in India? How does idea #4 play out for you at home in Michiana?

DC Curry

Hey Rob! I completely agree with everything. I loved the chart because it laid out specifically what each area looks like and what each area is specifically DESIGNED for. I think we (in the west) make those words (apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, teacher, etc.) mean something different than what they were originally intended to mean so I love that it's put back in original definitions of the terms. I think this will inspire some, and convict others.

Rob Wegner

Edgar,

Bro,

You’re right that was a brilliant typo on my part! ;)

You said, “As a 'pastor' it is very limiting to carry the 'pastor' title as very few key church leaders really have the pastoral/shepherd gift as their developing & prominent gift. Unfortunately so much of the 'pastor's time and energy gets exhausted on caring for internal mechanisms and existing structures within the local church.”

I couldn’t agree more. We’ve of taken a
template of church that emerged with
Constantine 1600 years ago and it’s soo
top heavy that is burdens us. The early
church was missional, decentralized,
networked and flexible until the
Constantinian Establishment in the early
4th Century. Up until then persecution
kept the church simple and committed and
she had “the feel of a movement.” With
Constantine it was legitimized and
politicized. As a result it became
institutionalized with top-down
leadership operating in an authority
structure of “command and control.” Thus
the we’ve lived out of the template as an
extension of Constantine's radical change
from organism to organization, from
networked, relational communities to
legally connected institutions, from
mission penetrating the world to ministry
maintaining the flock. So, pastors end
up so busy running the machinery that
there’s little energy left over. We
working on leaner model we're calling
"essential church" where we lower the bar
for what it takes to do church (less
infrastructure and extras) and raise the
bar for leadership development. It will
be a church model led by bi-vocational
pastors who embed into the cultural niche
God has placed them, plant the gospel,
and let a reproducing church emerge.

Your comment: There really isn't a framework for the apostle in the local church....we've basically replaced the role with a missions program that satisfies the 'sent one' facet of the 5-fold dynamic.

Word! Rather than mission being the
organizing principle, it becomes a
department that is a subset. Ugh!

You asked, “Leaders who travel, often get chastised & or replaced for leaving home base. Sounds to me like you are fulfilling the role of apostle in India? How does idea #4 play out for you at home in Michiana? “


Regarding India, I would agree with you.
Regarding #4 in Michiana, locally, we’ve
deliberately spent time developing
mutually supportive relationships with a
couple inner city churches near our
community center. Most of this mutually
supportive work happens for us through
EnterMission Coaching and Wiredchurches,
especially the coaching. We are deeply
invested in each others lives and
ministry, shared work and networking is
growing organically out of that. It’s
beautiful. However, I have to say many
times return to this thought, “Southgate
and GCC have a mission future together
that is yet to be defined.” Let's talk!

LeRoy King

Rob... Thank you for re-igniting the dialogue. I love how you've laid out how an apostolic movement looks like. Unfortunately, our tendency toward corruption continue to taint the Apostolic model. Too many times men have turned this gift to the Church into something thats more about power than servanthood, more about positions and titles than a catalytic movement in uncharted waters. Honestly, I get nervous when someone start saying "I'm Apostle so and so." I want to tell them... "DUDE... THAT'S NOT YOUR FIRST NAME!" Most people I know who operate in the way you've mentioned above would not call themselves "Apostles." Maybe they are embarrassed of what the gift has become. Thank you Rob...

Ryan

Rob,

The Acts 29 Network http://www.acts29network.org/ is very good at developing solid churches with well supported church leadership and developing real growth in all its members. A church implementing Acts 29 practices is a church I want to be a part of.

Are you saying that the Apostle is the alternative to denominations and organizational structure? If the churches are fields of flowers you are the bees bringing the DNA across the whole area so all the flowers are similar yet they still must stand on their own where they are planted?

Rob Wegner


Love the image of the bee! Thats a keeper...

Rob Wegner
Blog: www.robwegner.org

Twitter:robwegner

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My Story

  • I'm Rob Wegner. My official title is Pastor of Life Mission at Granger Community Church. My role is to help people get out of their seat and get into God's story, especially outside the four walls of the church building. I spend my time teaching, building teams and creating opportunties to mobilize people so that "up there" comes "down here." I love forging partnerships in our community and around the world to get that done. We're dreaming huge dreams about slaying the giants of our time - things like spiritual lostness, poverty, sickness, injustice, illiteracy...you get the idea. I get to do what I'm passionate about.

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