Restoring Apostolic Leaders
“…Dave, I am convinced this is the missing piece for movement-making!”
I was on the phone with my good friend and missional guru, Alan Hirsch. Whenever Alan and I talk, the conversation always gravitates to movement making. We are both obsessed with the topic. In this conversation, Alan was explaining to me that he believed a clear and Biblical application of Ephesians 4:11-12: "So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up," was what was needed by NewThing to catalyze the movement making that we are praying for and working toward.
Alan went on to point out that the contemporary church has emphasized the gifts of the evangelist, pastor and teacher, but neglected the equipping gifts of the apostle and prophet. He then explained (read with your best Australian accent), “I can find no situation where the church has significantly extended the mission of God, let alone when the church achieved rapid metabolic growth, where apostolic leadership cannot be found in some form or another. In fact, the more significant the mission impact, the easier it is to discern this mode of leadership.”
Restoring Disciple Making
After Alan lobbied for the application of Ephesians 4, I pushed back by telling him that what we really needed for movement is to restore the biblical idea of discipleship described in Matthew 28. I then explained how discipleship is best expressed through apprenticing other Christ followers and that, at the core of every movement is a mechanism for apprenticeship. Finally, I told Alan, “If we will apprentice Christ followers and apprentice leaders and also apprentice artists, we will see movement! It says so in the Great Commission!”
Apprenticing Apostles = Leadership Residents!
Over the last few months I’ve mulled this conversation over and over in my head and I’m now convinced that we are both right. Alan is right; for too long the contemporary church has ignored the role of apostleship. Without apostles, new initiatives and new churches will not be started and the mission of Jesus will come to a grinding halt. We do need to restore the role of apostleship to see a movement of new churches. But, in order to restore the role of apostleship, we need to apprentice emerging apostolic leaders.
For leaders with the gift of apostleship to gain prominence again, we need a new generation of leaders who are affirmed in their gifting and equipped to use their gift to start churches, networks and movements. This is why I am so passionate about NewThing’s Leadership Residency program; it is designed specifically for apostolic leaders through 9-month apprenticeship. It is a solid, biblical strategy for apprenticing emerging apostolic leaders to not just start a church, but a reproducing church with a vision for movement making!
I’m supposed to spend some time with Alan in a few weeks. I’m sure we will talk about movement and mission – we always do! I know he will agree that the secret to movement making for NewThing is through more and better Leadership Residents who will plant churches that reproduce over and over and over!
Lead Pastor, Community Christian Church Lead Visionary, NewThing