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November 18, 2019
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The Apostle in the Workplace Today

Os Hillman • Work As Ministry
Are there modern-day apostles today? Are there apostles in the marketplace? This articles tackles this topic.
In Ephesians we find a reference to the five fold gifts given to individuals in the church for the benefit of establishing the church today. They are apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. Why do you need to understand this as a workplace Christian? Because you need to understand those who God has placed in your workplace arena that have these five distinct gifts in order to better build His church in the workplace. Consider Paul's statement here in several places in the New Testament.

  Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit. Eph 2:19-22

  And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers,   for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,  till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;  that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting,   but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head--Christ--  from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love. Eph 4:11-16

 And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues.   Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles?  Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret?  But earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way.

1 Cor 12:28-31

 

I would like you to notice one significant reference in these passages. They speak of five distinct gifts but present two of them first in each of the passages. The reason I believe Paul does this is because it is these gifts that are the foundation - it even says that - to establishing the church. Most of us are very familiar with the titles of pastor, teacher and evangelist. After all, we often address our pastor as pastor so and so. We recognize those in the church who are gifted teachers. And, we recognize people like Billy Graham and Luis Palau as evangelists. However, within the more conservative denominations the idea of modern-day apostles and prophets is not something you hear very often. In fact, among many denominations the idea that there are modern-day apostles and prophets would be a foreign concept to them.

My spiritual roots are from a conservative mainline denomination. I was saved in that denomination when I was 22-years old. That denomination would probably not acknowledge the operation of the apostle and prophet in today's church. If they do, it is only in theory and not in practice. However, let me assure you that God has raised up apostles and prophets in our day for the establishment of His church around the world. This was not just the early church establishment that Paul is speaking about here as some might say.

Dr. Peter Wagner with Global Harvest Ministries and the Wagner Leadership Institute has written extensively on this subject. He is a former professor at Fuller Theological Seminary and an authority on church growth and trends in the body of Christ. He has written extensively on the topic of the modern day apostolic movement in the church today.

In this issue we are going to focus our attention on the office of the apostle in order to determine why we need to be aware of this and how it will affect each of us personally.

The definition of apostle is as follows:

An apostle is a Christian leader, gifted, taught, commissioned, and sent by God with the authority to establish the foundational government of the church within an assigned sphere of ministry by hearing what the Spirit is saying to the churches and by setting things in order accordingly for the growth and maturity of the church. - Peter Wagner[1]

How do you know if you are an apostle? We receive the office of apostle through works. The office is not given to us by God, but by people. The office is a public recognition that an individual has a spiritual gift and that they are authorized to exercise that gift within the body of Christ. [2] Others confirm that you have this office in the body of Christ.

It is worth noting that the word apostle appears 74 times in the New Testament. Teacher appears 14 times, prophet appears 8 times, evangelist appears 3 times and pastor appears 3 times. So, the role of the apostle must be very important to God. 

In a workplace context I associate the apostle to the entrepreneur who sees the opportunities, lays the groundwork necessary to bring the opportunity into fruition. We would all agree that without entrepreneurs we would not have much businesses start in our world. So too, the apostle must be an individual who lays the foundations but instead of doing it by himself, he partners with the prophet who helps to discern God's will and purposes for the enterprise.

It was only a few years ago that the term apostle came up when they made reference to my name. At first I was very uncomfortable with this reference because I was untaught about the five-fold gifts and their relevance and operation in the church today. I was described as an apostle because of my leadership in the faith and work movement and my ability to convene others in the movement. Since then I have been invited by Peter Wagner to join the International Coalition of Apostles and serve on an apostolic council for the workplace movement. These actions are not designed to give someone some elitist position in the body of Christ. It is simply an effort to help equip and release those in the body who others recognize as operating in that gift in order to more effectively build and establish the church in their sphere of influence. I believe we will see more recognition of workplace apostles who are demonstrating leadership in establishing the church in the workplace today.


 


[1] Spheres of Authority, Dr. Peter Wagner, p. 27, Wagner Publications

[2] Spheres of Authority, Dr. Peter Wagner, p. 25, Wagner Publications

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