We look to the ministry of Yeshua and the apostles as a pattern upon which to build our ministries today. Here are some pointers:
1. PREACHING WITH ANOINTING
Yeshua was first of all a preacher. He taught with anointing from the Holy Spirit. Yeshua often ministered from Isaiah 61:1,
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because He has anointed me to preach the gospel to the meek, to heal the broken hearted …”
We have a burning desire to preach the gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit from
“Jerusalem, to Judea and Samaria, and to all the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8).”
We look for breakthroughs in evangelism and for empowerment from the Holy Spirit to set people free. That is the fountain for the other aspects of the ministry.
2. TRAINING THE TWELVE
After Yeshua established His preaching ministry, He chose 12 younger men and trained them to continue the ministry beyond Himself. We leaders must not only be players, we must also be coaches. It is not enough to have a successful ministry. We must train others. The kingdom works bymultiplication. We have to ask ourselves what we will leave after us as a kingdom legacy.
In prayer recently, I saw something so simple for our ministry: Betty and I are called to raise up 12 couples, approximately 15 to 30 years younger than us, who have a similar vision for revival, and in each couple one of the spouses is a local Israeli.
3. OBEDIENCE UNTO DEATH (THE CROSS)
The third “department” of Yeshua’s ministry was to die on the cross. The cross was not a one-time event in 33 AD, but a daily part of His walk with God. He calls us to
“deny ourselves, take up our cross day by day (Luke 8:23).”
The road to Gethsemane started with obeying His Jewish Momma (Miryam), submitting to the ministry of His cousin (Yohanan), fasting 40 days in the desert, and putting up with the complaining of the disciples. Yeshua cried out to God in supplication and tears (Hebrews 5:7), often rising before dawn after little sleep (Mark 1:35).
This commitment to obedience unto death (Revelation 2:10, Philippians 2:7) was His personal example of integrity – the living laboratory of what He preached.
4. DISCIPLESHIP BY EXPERIENCE
Yeshua’s discipleship of the twelve was connected both to His preaching ministry and to His personal life example. They came to ask Him, “Rabbi, where do you live?” (John 1:38). They received on-the-job training as interns in His preaching ministry. They absorbed His character and experienced His charisma.
You can’t learn evangelism from someone who doesn’t evangelize; you can’t learn obedience through faith from someone who doesn’t do it. Discipleship is more impartation than information.
5. FROM STAFF TO STUDENT
The discipleship of the twelve went through various stages. Spiritually they went from servants to friends (John 15:15). Practically speaking, they started out as staff members, carrying out simple chores and administrative duties. From there they went on to be students, training to be ministers themselves. Finally they went on to be apostles sent out to carry on His work on their own.
These stages overlap one another and are part of the same overall training. They went from staff to student; from disciple to apostle. They were still part of His chosen team even when they were at different stages. Elisha worked many years “washing Elijah’s hands” (II Kings 3:12).
6. DIFFERET LEVELS ON TEAM
We can see a similar pattern with Paul’s ministry. Some people were there to carry his coat and books (II Timothy 4:13). Others were sent to appoint elders in the local congregation (Titus 1:5). The different levels can be symbolized by the meaning of the names of three of his coworkers: Aristarchus means “first level of authority”. Secundus represents a “second” lower level of authority. Tertius can be seen as representing a “third” or introductory level of ministry.
Being on a “lower” level of spiritual authority does not disqualify someone from being on the ministry team if there is a need for his service. The purpose of an apostolic ministry team is not to label people apostles, but to provide a series of functions that will strengthen the community of faith and advance the gospel.
7. APOSTOLIC TEAM PROJECTS
An apostolic team desires to see the five ministry functions listed in Ephesians 4:11:
“apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers.”
Therefore by the very nature of the apostolic team there should be at least four types of projects, each encouraging one of the functions: the prophet, the evangelist, the pastor and the teacher.
- The best setting for prophetic ministry is an extended time of music and worship, which creates the atmosphere were the prophets can minister (II Kings 3:15). We try to set aside two hours each morning for our team members to participate in prophetic praise ministry.
- The evangelist must simply have direct evangelistic opportunities to share the gospel locally in a personal and spirit-led way, penetrating the indigenous culture and native language. We share testimonies regularly to encourage continued witnessing, whether at university, in the army, while shopping or at work.
- The heart of an apostolic team is not just building up one congregation but also multiplying home groups and new congregations. We are committed to multiplying disciples AND to multiplying congregations. We want to see a network of pastors with a vision for kingdom expansion.
- Lastly, the teaching ministry is best expressed through a discipleship-training program. We have a great model of that in Paul’s daily teaching at Tiranus (Acts 19:5-12). Signs and wonders were common, the gospel was preached, the Holy Spirit was poured out, and the entire nation heard the gospel.
Note: No ministry structure is holy. It is not the pattern we are after but the RESULTS. If a project is bearing fruit, we continue. If not, we cut it.