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7 CONTRASTS BETWEEN TITULAR AND FUNCTIONAL LEADERSHIP
By Joseph Mattera

Through the years, I have observed various types of leadership styles as well as how people operate within the flow of leadership titles. In this article, I use the word titular, to refer to a person who tries to lead primarily on the merit of their title and or official position. When I use the term functional, I am referring to a person who earns the respect of their peers and subordinates through their effectiveness and relational capital. Continue reading “Functional Vs. Titular Church Leadership” »

Recently I heard a great prophetic teacher (Thamo Naidoo from South Africa) mention in his message that there is a difference between apostles of churches and apostles of Christ. He said that while there were many apostles of churches, there were only very few true apostles of Christ on the earth today. That one statement exploded on the inside of me and gave me much illumination.  I had never heard anyone make this delineation before, but it makes a lot of sense to me. The following is what I have unpacked in the scriptures since Thamo made this statement.

Essentially, the word apostle means a person who is sent to represent another, whether a king, kingdom, or entity like a church. 1 Corinthians 12:28 teaches that God places first in the church apostles, since they are sent by God to represent Him in a city to pioneer a beachhead (a church or ekklesia as shown in Matthew 16:18-19) for city transformation.

Apostles are the “sent ones” who represent the essence of what the church vision or mission is all about. In John 17, Jesus constantly referred to the fact that He was sent by the Father to the world, which is one reason why Hebrews 3:1 refers to Jesus as our Apostle. Jesus was God’s Apostle sent into the world to redeem it. In Revelation 22:14 we see the term “the twelve apostles of the Lamb.” There will never be another apostle added to that list since there were only twelve. However, it seems evident (at least to me) that Paul was also an apostle of Christ, which means this general category was not limited to merely 12 in total. Paul qualified his apostleship not only by planting churches but also by seeing Jesus (1 Cor. 9:1), which means that apostles at this level must have experienced a dynamic encounter and intimate walk with the Lord.

In the New Testament there were dozens of people identified as apostles. It is my view that since Paul was an apostle of Christ his apostleship transcended the churches he founded. Although Paul did not found the church in Rome, he was respected enough by the general body of Christ that he was able to write the letter to the Romans with apostolic weight and authority as if he was the one who planted it. Hence, apostles of Christ garner a high level of respect beyond the borders of their own church networks, even though they would never attempt to supplant the authority of an apostolic leader who is the founder and/or leader of another network (unless there was heresy or a gross violation of biblical ethics).

Also, Paul warned that there were some who were masquerading as apostles of Christ (2 Cor. 11:13), which probably means that this term (apostle of Christ) was used to identify some significant apostles who were not one of the original twelve. Furthermore, in 2 Cor. 8:23 Paul identified some as “apostles of the churches” (not “apostles of Christ”) which I believe refers to the fact that these leaders only had limited recognized apostolic authority related to representing a particular constellation of churches. Since apostles of Christ directly represent the Lord Jesus, they have a burden and calling for the whole body of Christ and/or a large expression of the global body of Christ. Apostles of Christ are also trans-cultural, trans-generational, and are more loyal to the Kingdom of God than to a specific geopolitical affinity.

The following are ten characteristics of apostles of Christ:

1. Apostles of Christ Build the Kingdom.
Oftentimes, church apostles are just focused on their local church and/or their network or denomination. One of the reasons is because their assignment is limited to those works they personally oversee or have founded. They do not have the grace or leadership capacity to go beyond their particular church system, doctrine and/or culture. On the other hand, apostles of Christ have an ambassadorial call that transcends any one church, movement or denomination. Hence, even if they try to focus on one group or movement, God will constantly pull them into other church communities and/or nations to build apostolic foundations related to doctrine or Kingdom life.

2. Apostles of Christ Are Not Hierarchical.
Generally speaking, church apostles can be caught up in titles, measures of influence within their movement, and/or church politics. Apostles of Christ do not personally crave titles (they will use them when appropriate) and do not need institutional church structures to validate their ministry or calling.

3. Apostles of Christ Don’t Strive For Recognition.
Philippians 2 teaches us that Jesus made Himself of no reputation. Apostles of Christ are often hidden and do not seek public attention, since they are already rooted strongly in their identity as sons of God and have no innate need for public acclaim.

4. Apostles of Christ Are Not Driven by Money.
Apostles of Christ have so much faith in their assignment from God, they trust God will provide all their needs as long as they are in His will. They do not go to a place to minister only because the offerings are good but will go only where the Lord is leading. Paul said he did not peddle the word of God for money (2 Cor. 2:17) and the apostle Peter warns shepherds not to minister for dishonest gain (1 Peter 5:2). Although I believe those who labor in the word full-time are worthy of double honor and should make a living from the gospel (1 Tim. 5:17; 1 Cor. 9:14), the bottom line for apostles of Christ is the will of God, not material gain.

5. Apostles of Christ Lay Down their Lives for the Gospel.
All of the original 12 Apostles (except John) as well as the apostle Paul were martyred for the gospel. As Jesus laid down His life for the sheep (John 10) those who represent Him are willing to die daily (Revelation 12:11; Acts 20:24; Galatians 2:19-20) whether it is to their own will or to literally lose their lives.

6. Apostles of Christ Have a Servant’s Heart.
Apostles of Christ are unassuming, do not have an entitlement mentality, have a servant’s heart, and do not lead with a top-down autocratic approach like the rulers of the Gentiles (Mark 10:42). They mimic Jesus’ words when He said that the greatest in the Kingdom is the one who serves (Mark 10:43-45).

7. Apostles of Christ Have Divine Influence and Calling Beyond their Network of Churches.
Although the apostle Paul strove not to preach where Christ was already named (Romans 15:20) his greatest epistle was to the church at Rome, where he endeavored to go in spite of the fact he was not their founding apostle. Paul had vast influence way beyond the primary sphere of activity he was focusing on (Read 2 Corinthians 10:10-14). His influence has even reached to us 2,000 years later through his inspired New Testament writings.

Since apostles of Christ represent the Lord Himself, by nature they have to be trans-national, trans-cultural, and multi-generational and have a desire for Kingdom advancement, not just the enlargement of their church networks.

8. Apostles of Christ Have an Intimate Walk with God.
Since apostles of Christ have to represent Jesus and not merely a church or denomination (of course all believers are called to represent Christ but apostolic callings have a greater measure of responsibility), they are obligated to know God intimately and walk in His presence and power.  All of the original 12 apostles walked with Jesus personally for more than three years before they were launched into their ministry, and Paul the apostle had a personal encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9). All true apostles of Christ will have a driving passion to know God and to make Him known.

9. Apostles of Christ Endure Great Hardship.
Paul validated his apostleship by the immense hardships he endured, not just by signs and wonders and church planting (2 Corinthians 11:17-12:8). Paul said (1 Cor. 4:9) that apostles live like those condemned dying in the arena (or have the sentence of death upon themselves). This kind of apostolic leader must have the capacity for high-stress leadership combined with the kind of emotional maturity to deal with all kinds of difficulties that the average person could never endure.

10. Apostles of Christ Live in Simplicity.
Apostles of Christ do not need or desire to live a life of extreme luxury and opulence. Their spiritual and psychological needs have already been met through their deep and abiding relationship with Christ. They have been so satisfied with living with the person and presence of God that they count all things as dung compared to knowing Him (Philippians 3:8-14)! Their greatest desire in life is to fellowship with Him, meditate on the scriptures, and serve God’s people and Kingdom. Consequently they do not need to drive the most expensive cars, live in the largest houses or make a huge salary in order to be satisfied in this life. Consequently, they live in simplicity, are content with little and are not driven to pursue material possessions and pleasure.

After seeing these 10 traits, we can see how there are only very few apostles of Christ in this world. May the Lord raise more up in these days so the body of Christ can fully advance!

My good friend, Charles Carrin, as a Baptist pastor for more than twenty-five years, was much like Apollos before Priscilla and Aquila “took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately” (Ac. 18:24-26). Like Apollos, he was “an eloquent man…and he was mighty in the Scriptures,” he “had been instructed in the way of the Lord” in Baptist schools, was “fervent in spirit,” and “was speaking and teaching accurately the things concerning Jesus,” meaning the Gospel of Christ’s sacrifice. However, Charles, like Apollos and myriad other sincere and fervent traditional denominational ministers today, was “acquainted only with the baptism of John,” the original Baptist. Continue reading “Cessationism Refuted” »

This article is part 2 of 7 in the series Reclaiming Fatherhood and Restoring Fathers

Restoring Fathers

As stated in Part 1, it simply cannot be an accident or coincidence that the Old Testament concludes in the last two verses in the last chapter of the last book, Malachi, with this prophecy:

“Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord. And he will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children, and hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the land with a curse.” (Mal. 4:5,6)

As I also stated at the beginning of this discussion, I believe the ultimate purpose of the prophetic, or at least the Elijah-type of prophetic ministry, those who operate in the “spirit and power of Elijah” (Lk. 1:17), is to restore fatherhood and reclaim fathers, both in the spiritual and natural realms. Continue reading “Reclaiming Fatherhood and Restoring Fathers (Part 2)” »

Fivefold Ministry is a matter frequently alluded to from the pulpit within many Charismatic and other Neo-Pentecostal churches and circles. Notwithstanding, such allusions appear to be little more than oratorical rhetoric, for the most part, because few churches make an earnest attempt to incorporate Fivefold Ministry within their ministry and structure. Certainly, I have never yet seen it in full and proper operation anywhere. Rather, for the most part according to what I have heard and witnessed, Fivefold Ministry and its function remains to be a shadowy and little understood matter to the majority of ministers, not to mention lay believers, including even those claiming to be Charismatic.

Oh, some say they believe there is such a thing as Fivefold Ministry, which is more than can be said for the vast majority of so called mainline and Evangelical denominational ministers. However, most Charismatic ministers have what could only be referred to as a cursory understanding of these Ascension Gifts of Christ and how the Bible prescribes they are to function and flow together, and very few of them have incorporated all of those ministry offices into their rightful place of function within the structure of their local church. Continue reading “The Role of Fivefold Ministry (Part 2)” »

Fivefold Ministry is the ongoing surrogate ministry of Christ Himself to the Church—His Betrothed. All legitimate ministry emanates from Jesus Himself and is an extension of His ministry. Unless it emulates His ministry, it’s not legitimate ministry. Jesus’ three-and-a-half-year fleshly ministry is the model for all genuine ministry, and we can see in the Gospel accounts that Jesus functioned in all five of the Fivefold Ministry Offices.

Fivefold Ministry consists of five functions or offices of function: apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, and teacher. The primary scripture enumerating these offices is verse eleven of Ephesians Four. Relationally these offices are horizontal, non-hierarchical, and non-authoritarian (cf., Mk. 10:35-45; 16:19; Lk. 22:69; Ac. 5:31; 7:55,56; Rom. 8:34; Eph. 1:20; Col. 3:1; Heb. 1:3,13; 8:1; 10:12; 12:2; 1 Pet. 3:22; Rom. 8:29; Heb. 12:23). These terms are not titles implying authority or entitlement of any kind, but rather terms alluding to specific ministerial functions.

The essence and role of the Fivefold Ministry can only be understood in the context of the Church and Christ’s relationship with it. Above all else, the Church is “the Lamb’s Wife” (Rev. 21:9). Presently, in the natural, the Church is the Betrothed of Christ, since the Marriage Supper of the Lamb has not yet occurred. Yet, in the Spirit, wherein God always speaks of those things that are not as though they already were, the Church is now “The Lamb’s Wife.” Continue reading “The Role of Fivefold Ministry” »

There is no matter more central and critical to spiritual knowledge and understand­ing than the matter of authority. That fact becomes even more apparent when one considers that the very term “Kingdom of God” actually connotes the Domain, Authority, or Government of God (cf., Rev. 12:10). The word, “kingdom,” in fact, is a compound word composed of two derivatives, king and domain, thus it connotes the domain of a king—in this case, the Kingdom of God or Christ. One cannot even begin to have a proper understanding of the realm of the Kingdom of God as well as the genuine Gospel of the Kingdom, which the Gospel writers expressly indicated Jesus preached during His fleshly ministry, without having an understanding of the matter of authority. Continue reading “Examining Biblical Authority” »

Oh, how desperately the Church, including the Neo-Pentecostal Church, in this last hour needs a full-color picture of a genuine black-and-white prophet, to portray to its constituency what one looks like, to allow them to fully receive “the reward” or benefits of a genuine prophet, instead of the cheap thrills dispensed by diluted and often deluded imitations circulating around the church scene these days. To accurately differentiate the genuine from the counterfeit, chances are its going to “take one to know one.” The late Leonard Ravenhill certainly was one, and before his death, fortunately for us, he snapped “the picture of a prophet” for us all to see and contemplate. Continue reading “The Picture Of A Prophet” »

A Trio of Gifts from the Trinity
In the Kingdom of the Triune-God good things come in THREES. Trinitarians espouse and expound the Truth that the God-Head consists of three PERSONS, as opposed to manifestations as our non-trinitarian Pentecostal brethren contend. All verily God, perfectly united in essence and purpose, yet simultaneously separate and distinct. One God in Three Persons Trinitarians maintain. (Regardless, it is my personal position that God is grieved and much damage is wreaked when the Body of Christ divides and separates into camps who refuse to walk in fellowship with one another over such matters, and that when we do, it is clear in Scripture that we are not fully walking in the true Light of the Spirit but rather in spiritual darkness, regardless of how right those of each camp contend they are (cf., 1 Jn. 1:7). Undeniably, the primary product of our walking in the Light as He is in the Light is that we love one another.)

“God so loved the world that He gave…” (Jn. 3:16). In this—the one most familiar and quoted of all Gospel verses—is reflected volumes more than what all the commentaries of Christian doctrine and theology have ever been able to suppose and propose. Add to it the fathomless precept of “the summing up of all things in Christ” (Eph. 1:10) and human ruminations of who God really is soar to such sublime heights so as to dizzy the most impassive of souls.

The preponderance of Scripture propounds over and over the phenomenal Truth that the One true Triune-God whom traditional orthodox Christendom ascribes, avows, and serves is the Supreme Giver. It is undeniable and unavoidable that giving is a central attribute of the nature of God. He is “the God of all grace” (1 Pet. 5:10). He is so full of grace (charis, Gr.) [giftings], ever-lasting love and kindness, and mercy that endures to and throughout all generations, that He simply cannot help Himself but to GIVE! He is a God of bountiful GIFTS and GIVING! When He gave us His only begotten Son, He GAVE all and the best He had to give. One of His Names is El-shaddai, which means “the God who is MORE than enough,” also demonstrates His nature of superfluous benevolence. When God gives, He gives in overflowing, abundant measure. It only follows then, as a brief aside, that anyone who purposes to emulate God and His attributes, in addition to all else, must also be a wildly generous and hillarious GIVER! (1 Cor. 9:7) Continue reading “Gifts Vs. Offices (Part 1)” »