Apostolic team defined: “a band of men and women called together by God to advance the kingdom and glorify God by making disciples of lost people and planting and multiplying churches”. Romans 15:7-20
The primary difference between elders serving in a local church and an apostolic team is vision and function. Elders serve by equipping, discipling and overseeing the members of a local church. Apostolic teams focus on pioneering amongst those who have not yet heard the good news. Apostolic teams give oversight to pioneering movements; they cultivate a set of core values that empower such a movement.
Local church elders care for the flock under their charge; an apostolic team does the same thing but also cultivates a church planting culture of faith and vision to reach those who have never heard the good news. A local church eldership can grow into an apostolic team in time if they cultivate apostolic values and vision, and recognize and affirm apostles and prophets to lead the team and lay foundations in their movement.
Apostolic teams give oversight to pioneering church planting movements; they cultivate a set of core values that empower such a movement.
Apostolic teams are focused. They are not satisfied with just overseeing the affairs of a local church. They burn with a desire to plant churches and reach those outside the influence of the gospel, especially those who have never heard of God’s love in Christ.
Apostolic teams are not apostolic because the team members are prophets or apostles. They are apostolic because they have a vision to plant churches where the gospel has not yet been proclaimed. You can be an apostle by gifting and fail to fulfill the purpose of your gift. Apostles are pioneers by calling, but they start new churches to fulfill their calling.
I have a very simple way of defining apostolic teams: they do what apostles did in the book of Acts. They preach the gospel, make disciples for Christ, plant churches and appoint and oversee elders of local churches. They believe God for the impossible and pull down Satan’s strongholds amongst the unreached and the unchurched. They suffer and sacrifice for what they believe. In short, they win, gather, and multiply disciples and churches for Jesus – especially where people are unchurched and unreached.
Ten functions of an apostolic team:
• Impart core values to empower the movement – Acts 2-:17-32
• Inspire a common vision - 1 Corinthians 3:5-17
• Model what they believe – 1 Thessalonians 1:5-16, 1 Corinthians 4:16
• Equip & empower others for ministry – 2 Timothy 2:2, Ephesians 4
• Guard against compromise – 1 Timothy 6:20
• Strengthen people’s hearts as they live radically for God – Philippians 4:2, 6-7
• Cultivate a culture transparency and accountability – Philippians 2:1-11
• Facilitate hearing God in His word – 2 Timothy 3:16
• Listen to the spirit together – Acts 13:1-3
• Learn & grow together – Luke 10:17-20