It is amazing what happens when true apostles come into the picture. Where there has been strife, contention, confusion and small-mindedness, there comes instead unity, harmony, clarity and great vision!
The global Apostolic Movement is in a time of wonderful growth. As in the "Acts of the Apostles" in the New Testament, it has a great deal to do with apostles - even today.
The reason is simple: God set - first - apostles in the Church to lay foundations and bring order. That´s why the apostle Paul wrote that "first in rank" (Greek: proton) are apostles. Second come prophets etc. (1Corinthians 12:28). Paul wrote that Christ first gave the gift of apostles (Ephesians 4:11). The foundation-layers are the apostles and prophets - together (Ephesians 2:20).
However, we must be mindful of the reality that many are called and anointed to be apostles, but have not yet entered into the fulness of their apostolicity. These things take time to develop, like with apostle Paul himself who went through several years of misunderstandings, isolation, and grappling with his own issues in life and understanding, before he entered into his ultimate destiny as an apostle of Christ.
The Holy Spirit is the 3rd Person in the Triune Godhead. He reveals Christ and speaks decisively to the Church. The Holy Spirit is Spirit with a capital "S".
However, I am now writing about "spirit" with a small "s". Important, but it must not be confused with God´s infallible Word. According to my dictionaries, "spirit" also means "the essential nature of a person or group".
What is the essential nature of modern-day apostles?
Modern-day apostles are characterized by the spirit of fatherhood.
In the patriarchal, fathering anointing, there comes unity. Where there has been strife, contention, confusion and small-mindedness, there comes instead unity, harmony, clarity and great vision!
Sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, who are involved in rivalry, accusations and elbowing, will all lay their differences and smallmindedness aside when the spirit of fatherhood arrives in their midst.
This happens in the apostolic movement all over the world.
I even see it in Europe which for centuries has been downtrodden by self-righteous, narrow-minded preachers and structures. The soil of Europe is carpeted by the blood of the martyrs. Not primarily killed by non-Christians, but by "Christian brothers and sisters".
This year I have ministered in 12 European nations, and my joy is to see that brothers and sisters are coming together to collaborate and support each other. It´s "the spirit of apostolicity"!
Some time ago, I ministered in one nation which is known for its historical and modern-day sectarianism. I spoke for only 30 minutes, with an emphasis on our values, and the effect was immediate: They got a taste of love and unity. not rivalry and contentiousness. Europe needs this, badly!
Modern-day apostles are characterized by the spirit of honor.
Apostle Paul wrote strongly about showing honor, and when he discussed elders and leaders, he even wrote about being "worthy of double honor" (1Timothy 5:17).
That´s why a basic tenet of the Apostolic Movement is that we ACKNOWLEDGE one another!
When we enter into a nation to bring together apostolic leaders in a national or regional coalition, we look for leaders who serve and honor one another. It is always a sign of an immature apostle if he is more concerned about telling us who is unworthy and insignificant, rather than pointing to their honorable gifts and strengths.
The value of honor is so important that we will always seek to establish a group of apostles in a nation who learn this together. ICAL has a process in every nation of at least 3-12 months ("feasibility stage") where we seek out the apostles who really are willing to stand together for the long haul. Without love and honor, "the long haul" is simply impossible!
Modern-day apostles are characterized by the spirit of patience
Bishop Dale Bronner, an apostle who pastors a great church of 25.000 members in Atlanta, USA, gave an impacting talk at the recent ICAL Annual Meeting. He said something that impacted me: "Patience is a secret weapon that forces deception to expose!" How true that is.
Apostles are men and women of vision. It takes time to fulfill a vision. Vision requires strong foundations, sound relationships, solid values, and viable principles. All of this requires patience.
Becoming a spiritual father requires patience. Learning to honor human beings requires patience. Even more patience is required to learn to honor fellow apostles, instead of looking at them as rivals and stepping-stones for our own plans and ambitions.
"The spirit of apostolicity" does not come over night. It takes time. It requires patience.