Ten Functions of an Apostolic Team

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




Leading Change

Note: I have attempted to lead change and failed several times in my leadership journey. And I have successfully led change on other occasions. The article below is from the excellent site, www.churchplanting.com   I would add to the significant wisdom in this guest article, change has to be values based, and not for the sake of innovation or inspiration. When it is values based, then the sacrifices necessary to make change are worth enduring because they are made for something we believe in deeply. 

The first two points are the most crucial in making change: a genuine sense of urgency and forming a guiding coalition. Enjoy, Floyd

Like most of you, I’m sure; I read a fair amount of the classic as well as “new arrival” works in the field of leadership and management. If translated thoughtfully and processed with theological care, learnings from this body of work could enhance your ministry as a church planter. Consider, as an example, the eight-stage process developed in 1996 by Dr. John Kotter – then of the Harvard Business School (www.johnkotter.com) – as related to navigating a group, team, organization, or church through the challenging waters of change. Unlike many strategic leadership taxonomies, this one is best followed in sequential order.

1. Establish a sense of urgency

  • Examine the contextual realities
  • Identify and discuss crises, potential disruptions, or major opportunities

2. Create a guiding coalition

  • Assemble a group with enough expertise and credibility to lead change
  • Take time to build the group into a true team

3. Develop a vision and strategy for the change effort

  • Focus on the “why” even more than the “how”
  • Develop primary and contingency strategies for achieving the change

4. Communicate the change vision

  • Use every means and occasion possible to consistently communicate the new vision and need for change
  • Motivate the guiding coalition to model behaviors expected post-change

5. Empower broad-based action

  • Strive to eliminate structural obstacles in your church to the change
  • Adjust or change systems that could undermine the vision for change
  • Encourage risk taking as well as “out of the box” thinking and action

6. Generate short-term wins

  • Plan for and even “create” visible improvements in performance or “wins”
  • Opening recognize and celebrate those “wins” no matter how small
  1. Consolidate gains and produce more change
  • Use growing credibility to make further changes that advance the transforming vision
  • Reinvigorate the change process with new themes, projects, and change agents

8. Anchor the new approaches in the church culture

  • Articulate the connections between new behaviors and ministry effectiveness
  • Proactively develop means to ensure leadership development, reproduction, and succession to minimize discontinuity

Read more here: Learning from the Business Gurus | ChurchPlanting.com


What Is The Need For Discipleship?

There is a great need... need for people who are morally pure... need for people to rethink and reshape what they believe and practice on kingdom principles... need for people who are passionate to spend time with Jesus... need for people who know how to disciple others...and do it! need for people who take initiative to share the gospel... and go for it! need for people who are not spiritual orphans...who know where they belong, who are faithful, and who are fruitful...

Churches are filled with spiritual orphans. A spiritual orphan is a Jesus follower who doesn't belong to a church family with a spiritual father or mother to disciple them. Spiritual orphans:

- become independent - carry rejection spirit - are spiritually isolated - don't know how to father or mother others - bounce from one spiritual family to another

Spiritual orphans run to other orphans to find out who they are, reinforcing in one another the worst traits of emotionally and spiritually disconnected people.

How do you get people free from spiritual orphanhood?

Invite them relationally to move from:

- Move from distant discipling, being "discipled" by a Christian celebrity through their books or music. The danger: it's not up close & real, haphazard, produces isolation, independence, super-spirituality, blind spots, lack of accountability and genuine community.

- Move from occasional discipling, the inconsistent hit and miss kind of discipleship. The danger: it's too infrequent, with different people you get different foundations, and selective accountability.

- Move to intentional discipling in a church family - blessing: clear goals for personal growth, accountability, spiritual depth, open to others in the body of Christ, strong foundations, reproducing fruit naturally

Right and wrong questions to ask about your church:

1. Wrong questions...How can I get people to be more faithful to my church? How can I grow my church bigger? How can I get people to volunteer and be faithful? How big is your church?

Discipleship in a local church is not a program for church growth.

2. Right questions... How can I disciple people to Christ? What is the process for building foundations and freedom in people's lives? How can we disciple people to make disciples in the harvest, who disciple others also?

What you measure in your church determines what you build in your church. Do you measure "disciples who obey" or "people who attend"? Do you disciple people to Christ or to your church?

Discipleship defined = it is intentional relationship. There needs to be a clearly defined process for discipling your people, simple and reproducible. Don't put pressure on yourself to disciple everyone, just those who want to be discipled. In every congregation there are crowds, curious, and the committed. Focus on the committed while you keep challenging the curious and inviting the crowds to more.

Give 80% of your time to the 20% who are most serious about obeying and reproducing. Most pastors do the opposite, and burn out because of it. They give 80% of their time and energy to the 20% who are least serious and most noisy and demanding.