What is an Apostolic Church?
What is an Apostolic Church?
What does apostolic mean? To understand the Apostolic church or the apostolic church belief, it helps to take a look at the root word, which is “Apostle”. The word Apostle comes from the Greek word Apostolos. It means “sent one”. An Apostolic church is one that embraces the responsibility of being “sent” to a region with a mandate from God. That calling is to impact a specific territory with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Study the word Apostolos in the Strong’s Concordance This type of church can be found throughout the New Testament.
In the Book of Acts, we see the church growing swiftly. Christians traveled from city to city. The believers would enter a region evangelizing, often led by an Apostle. In addition to preaching the Good News, they’d establish a congregation wherever the people were receptive. From there, amazing things took place in the name of Jesus. What is an Apostolic Church? It is a church that is sent by God.
The Apostolic church equips people in the region where it is planted.
The Apostolic church doesn’t just seek to gain new members. The apostolic assembly is a ministry that equips people to achieve their God-given destiny and raises up societal, Spirit-filled leaders for Christ Jesus. This is done through discipleship and training. After ensuring believers have a strong foundation in the Word, the church looks to identify gifts within the congregation. Every Christian has gifts. Once discovered, those gifts can be built upon. The Apostolic church works to help uncover your gifts and create a pathway to use them for God’s Glory.
The Apostolic church is big on discipleship because Jesus said commands it.
Jesus gave a very specific mandate via the Great Commission to make disciples. Discipleship is the process where believers work together through study and ministry. They commit to the building up of one another. Someone who is more experienced generally takes on the mentorship role. Regardless, both benefit. The questions asked by the new Christian are a blessing as they also train and challenge those who are leading the discipleship.
As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17
The Apostolic church takes the Great Commission seriously. That means sharing the Gospel and committing to one another through discipleship, which teaches people how to operate in all the benefits of God’s Kingdom. Read about the Great Commission
What is an Apostolic Church Structure – The 5 Fold Gifts
The Apostolic Church has a different structure than many churches today. Most churches in our society are Pastoral in that a Pastor fills most of the roles in the leading of the ministry. The gifting of the Pastor is vital to the church, but a strong church has many needs. Thankfully God has provided a set of gifts to meet those needs. If you study the first-century church structure, you will find 5 very different but equally important gifts operating all at the same time. This is what is known as the 5 fold ministry or the five fold church. These gifts are detailed extensively in the bible and come together as a leadership structure that empowers the church.
The 5 Fold and the Roles of the Gifts
Apostle – Pioneer, strategist, establisher of doctrine, leadership through vision, identification of gifts and equipping of the church
Prophet – hearer of the voice of God, communicator of His will for the church and the people.
Evangelist – a preacher of the Good News, able to communicate the ministry of reconciliation between man and God, brings people into the church
Pastor – Shepherd who takes care of the flock, encourager, comforter
Teacher – establish a strong foundation of the Word, clearly communicates the mysteries of the Kingdom in ways that bring understanding
Each of these plays a key role in the development of the church. When working in harmony, the gifts have a powerful impact on the congregation. The 5 fold helps believers mature in their faith, get strengthened, and develop in the foundations of Christianity. A strong church will constantly raise up people to operate in these categories. In doing so, all the needs of the congregation can be met.
Evangelists introduce a population to the faith. Pastors care for the needs of the congregation. Teachers lay a foundation of sound doctrine. Apostles and Prophets cast vision and help to identify Godly direction. This type of leadership requires more than a single person to achieve maximum success. Success for the Apostolic ministry is achieved when the people of the region are transformed.
When an area is impacted by the Gospel, we see the entire community rejoice and much of it turn their hearts to God. This exact occurrence and church structure are well documented in the Bible.
What is an Apostolic Church according to the Bible?
In Paul’s letters, there are 2 times where he mentions the Apostolic Ministry and in both cases, it was to correct the church as to what their structure should look like. We can take from this that a church with the Apostolic gifting at the forefront is not only fruitful but exactly what Jesus intended. Paul writes to the Ephesians saying:
So Christ Jesus 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 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Eph 4:11-13
Read all of Ephesians 4 Paul tells the Corinthians to seek gifts and guides them to a deeper call of the Apostolic ministry.
Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, administrating, and various kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? But earnestly desire the higher gifts. And I will show you a still more excellent way. 1 Cor 12:27-31
Read all of 1 Corinthians 12 The Book of Acts is filled with examples of the early church’s structure. Therefore, consider a deep study of this book.
What Happened to the Apostolic Church?
For the first few centuries, the early church operated in the Apostolic structure. They influenced the world and changed the course of history. This was despite terrible persecution from Imperial Rome. Eventually, even the Roman Empire adopted Christianity. While politically this was a benefit, it ultimately changed the structure of the church altogether. In just a bit over 300 years, Roman traditions penetrated church doctrine and still influence many of our religious customs today.
The leadership of the new Roman influenced church basically removed the original apostolic model. Pastors or Priests assumed the exclusive role of leading the congregation. Church tradition became a higher priority than personal growth and ministry. Overall, the remaining 5 Fold gifts diminished. The church turned into a large governing organization. Leadership was a single hierarchy that claimed to be mandated by God. In this model, believers come to the “church” to gain access to God.
The original church thrived on the individual’s direct connection to the Creator and the collective gifts of the congregation. When a congregation’s gifts combined, the church was strong.
Political Power Without Personal Power
Ultimately, with the 5 fold gifts less and less prevalent beyond the 3rd century, the authority of the individual Christian was limited. For over the past 1700 years, the pastoral church model at large remains a strong contrast to the early apostolic church that continued the work of Jesus. This first started with the Roman church and lasted well beyond a shift in 1517. The Protestant Reformation helped to expose some false doctrine that penetrated church tradition. More diverse denominations sprang up in the following 500 years.
A large majority, however, kept the Pastoral seat as a single point of leadership. No one can deny that the Christian religion itself has seen centuries of strong political power and influence. Unfortunately, there have been some dark times in the church. It has not always been the best example of Jesus. Where the church was best represented as the heart of Savior and reflecting the nature of God throughout history was the early apostolic structure.
In contrast, the apostolic church may have lacked political position, but it positively influenced the known inhabited world like no other movement known to man. What is an apostolic church? It is a church that can transform the world without political power.
To sum up, today’s Christianity looks a bit different. Christians may go to church, but do we collectively act as the church? Truthfully, we don’t operate like the Acts church. That is why we don’t experience the same lifestyle as the early church. That generation saw miracles, signs, and wonders. they persevered through trials and lived through great victory. Thankfully, in recent times, there has been a push to restore the original apostolic 5 fold model.
Modern Day Application of the Apostolic Church
The Apostolic is not a modern-day denomination. It is actually the original church structure that is found in the bible. Nowhere in the Scripture does it call for this model to change. Nevertheless, it has. If we restore the Apostolic 5 Fold ministry back to the church we will see the same global impact that we experience in the Book of Acts.
In Acts, the church pioneered the Gospel and transformed regions by bringing the freedom that comes with believing in Jesus to all who accepted it. Restoration of the 5 fold Apostolic ministry is long overdue. The Sound of Heaven Church is modeled through the 5 fold gifts. We believe we have a mandate to first impact Long Island and then the world.
What does the model Christian church look like?
In conclusion, the message of the Gospel and the need for discipleship is relevant in every generation. There will never be a time where humanity will not need to hear the Good News of Jesus Christ. Every day a new baby is born. If the church does its job, that person will at some point hear about God’s love and then learn that they were born with unique gifts designed to make the world a better place. The Apostolic church in our present time is commissioned to continue the work of Christ.
The Apostolic was the best model to reach the world in the first century and is still that today because:
1) The Bible displays this as the church structure intended by Jesus.
2) It empowers the believer and ultimately the whole church body to find its true identity in Christ We each have a purpose and unique gifts.
Are you Apostolic? Yes, you are. You are because God’s sent you to this world with a mission!
When we discover our purpose and unite with one another, anything is possible! So many Christians have gone to church their whole lives only to still wonder about their purpose on earth. They have never learned what is an Apostolic church!
Today, Millennials and Generation Z are rejecting organized religion on a large scale. In fact, studies show that they feel like the tradition isn’t relevant to our time. The Apostolic changes this because it isn’t a dated set of religious customs. It is a vehicle for influence and empowerment. Without question, the world needs to know that the power of God is alive and relevant.
IHAM – Represents The Apostolic Church
Apostolic CoveringFor In His Army Apostolic Church and Joyce Hardnett Ministries are provided by Ruth Mobley Ministries based out of Bradenton Florida
By the grace of God through faith in Christ, you have made a definite decision for Christ as a Savior and Lord. You have decided to live and walk with him. This is a great decision – the greatest you have made, or will make, in your life. By faith in Christ, you now have eternal life. Believing in Christ, you are now a Christian.
Following the leadership of Christ, you have offered yourself membership in IHAM. The church has encouraged you and you have followed Christ in baptism. You have made a definite decision for a consecrated life of service in the membership of the church.
The IHAM is now receiving you into the full fellowship of its membership. Surely you will desire to be a good member of IHAM. You will desire to put much into this new relationship---much time, faith, prayer, effort and thought and to gain much pleasure and profit in the service to God and man. You will make your own success of failure as a member of IHAM.
You can make a success of your membership in the Church. You will find the members of the Church ready to help you at all times. God, the Father, is ready to help you, for we read his promise, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee assurance (Ex.33:14). The Lord Jesus Christ is ready to help you, for we read, Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy (Jude 24). The Holy Spirit is ready to help, for we read, He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you (John 14:17).
Face Fundamental Facts
It will help you now if you well face four fundamental facts and make a positive decision about each one of them.
Church Membership Does Not Save. You have been saved by the grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Good works cannot save. Culture cannot save. Baptism does not save.
Your membership in the church does not save. Christ has done that and there is none else sufficient to it. You are to live a consistent life in the Church because Christ has saved you.
Christians Are Continuously Tempted. You must not think you will not be tempted since you have become a Christian. Temptations will be increased and will be more severe. You have just enlisted in the Lord’s army and will now need the Lord’s armor. (Read Ephesians 6:11-18.)
Christians Have Greater Joy. No joy is taken from the person who becomes a Christian. In fact, to become a Christian places one in position to have real joy, the happiest possible life. Jesus said to believers, These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full (John 15:11). You can now be the happiest person in the world.
Christians Have Larger Liberty. It does not take away one’s liberty to become a Christian. In fact, the Christian has larger liberty. He is no longer a slave to needless restrictions and endless prohibitions. We read, Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty (2 Cor. 3:17). The Christian is delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God (Rom. 8:17). The Christian has God’s freedom, which means he can do anything but commit sin, and this he will not desire to do.
Definite Decisions to Do
Keep yourselves in the love of God (Jude 21). You will desire to make definite decisions to follow certain lines of activities which will aid greatly in Christian life. We can mention some of these basic activities. Not one of these can be neglected if you expect to make a success of the Christian life and membership of the Church.
Love the Church.-Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it (Eph. 5:25). The fact that Christ loved the Church is sufficient reason for us to love it and support it and give ourselves for it. Christ gave himself for the church daily during his earthly life.
It was clearly the purpose of Christ to teach, preach, and heal; for we read, And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in the synagogue, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of diseases among the people (Matt. 4:23). When Christ went back to be at the right hand of the Father he committed this threefold program to his Church. The Church maintains a teaching program, a training service, and worship service. It will be your duty, as well as privilege, to attend these various services and give yourself for the work of the Church Constantly.
Worship the Lord. Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name (Matt. 6:9). O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness (Psalm 96:9). O come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord our maker (Psalm 95:6). We are astonished by the scriptures to Search the scriptures (John 5:39) and to Pray without ceasing (2 Thess. 5:17). In the former, God talks with us and in the latter we talk with God. Worship and fellowship with God we should be private (Matt. 6:6) and public (Luke 4:16). Both are essential and fill different needs in life. To be faithful in worship will assure success in the Christian life.
Study the Word. Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed. (2 Tim. 2:15). God has said, My people doth not consider (Isa. 1:3) Where there is no vision, the people perish (Prov. 29:18) It is not enough to read the Word of God. We must study it. We must think as we read and be able, by the help of the Holy Spirit, to interpret and apply the truth of the word. Many fail here. Not thinking, we go on the rocks. It is said of the children of Issachar that They had an understanding of the times to know what Israel ought to do (1 Chron. 12:32). The children of the Lord can have such understanding today. They must think. Therefore, add to your worship, thinking.
Serve the Lord. Jesus said I am among you as he that serveth (Luke 22:21). You must know follow in his footsteps. We must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man work (John 9:4). Whatsoever ye do, do it to the glory of God (1 Cor. 10:31). Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might (Eccl. 9:10). You must labor for the Lord or lose the influence of Christian life. Today is the day for you to go to work for God. He has work for you to do. Find your task. You can find it by talking to the Lord about it, or to the pastor, or other leaders in the Church. When you find your work prepare yourself to do it, and then do it for the good of mankind and the glory of God.
Keep His Commandments. Obedience is taught in the Bible and is absolutely necessary for success in the Christian life. Obedience is the test of love for God, for Jesus said, He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me (John 15:10). It is a condition of friendship with the Lod Jesus, ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you (John 15:14). Obedience is the requirement for happiness in the Christian life, if ye know these things happy are ye if ye do them. (John 13:17)
From these passages, it is very certain that the Lord Jesus Christ expects every believer to be obedient. Obedience is to go God’s way and do God’s will, yield to God. Not amount of planning, or proposing, or promising will take the place of obedience. Obedience means activity. It means doing. Worship will not suffice. Thinking will not be enough. There is no substitute for obedience. Willing and Joyous obedience will bring successes in the Christian life.
Give Your Money. God loveth a cheerful giver (2 cor. 9:7) Honor the Lord with thy substance, and with the first fruits of all thine increase (Prov. 3:9). Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse—saith the Lord of host (Mal. 3:10) Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom (Luke 6:38). Upon the first day of the week let everyone of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him (Cor. 16: 2).
And on and on we may go giving vital and clear passages from the word of God on this important subject. The right use of money is a test of character. No stingy person can succeed in the Christian life. You will desire to face fairly the Lord’s teaching on use of money and make a definite decision to honor him with your substance.
Live for Others. Love one another (John 15:17). Greater love Hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends (John 15:12). Let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth (1 John 3:18). Be thou an example of believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit in purity (1 Tim. 4:12).
The self-centered life will never succeed as a Christian life. The word is waiting for the person who is willing to spend himself or others. Give wisdom to the wayward, comfort to the sorrowing, heart to the discouraged, strength to the weak, purpose to the listless, and help to the needy. Make a definite decision to be a blessing to the people about you.
“Be of Good Cheer.” Jesus said it and then added, I have overcome the world (John 16:33). There is no reason to lose hope if we abide in Christ. Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men be strong (1 Cor. 16:13). Add your faith Virtue;
And to virtue, knowledge;
And to knowledge, temperance;
And to temperance, patience;
And to patience, godliness;
And to godliness, brotherly kindness;
And to brotherly kindness, charity (2 Peter 1:5-7)
If these things be in you, and abound, the life can be cheerful and fruitful for the Glory of God.
Face Forward. Jesus steadfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem (Luke 1:51). I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus (Phil 3:14) are the words of the great apostle Paul. Let us go on is the way this sentiment is expressed in the Hebrew letter. Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience and race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith (Heb. 12:1-2)