APOSTOLIC FUNCTION & IT'S RESULTING FORM

(Part 1)

by Bill Click

1. "Seeing" the Basis for the Function & Form of Foundational Ministries

There has been much discussion about anointing, ministry, structure and order in the Church.

It seems that ALL parts of the body are wanting "more" and are searching. Some are searching for power. others for authority, many for money and more than a few are looking for answers. The circumstances many have found themselves in over the past few years have necessitated this 'quest.'

Although the motives are not always pure, the Church today is found not only to have "hunger and thirst," but a great need for leadership that is sufficiently effective to both contain and reproduce the wine of the experience of the Kingdom (Mt.5:6). That said, many who lead are yearning for the Lord's Body to rise up like never before. Teaching increases awareness, but instruction is insufficient to impart the grace that God longs to make available. The body of Christ must also be willing to occupy the place of His choosing by becoming more conformed to His image and transformed by a renewed mind of Christ before it can become functionally sufficient to inherit those outside the Kingdom and demonstrate the Lordship of Jesus.

In practical terms, however: what does it mean for the church to be functioning, deployed and structured according to a fully Biblical Apostolic/Prophetic pattern? This is an enormous question. Some believe the Apostolic/Prophetic to be an optional component, a "movement" that has already reached it apex, and is now simply a rallying point for providing new slants on some often-ignored Biblical truths. These are glad much of the fascination has subsided so that everyone can go back to "church as usual." Others are content with an "Apostolic-only" or "Prophetic-only" perception, expression and implementation of Christ's grace. Combining the two has proven paradoxical and counterproductive to them because the issues of relating these two types of Christ's authority seem irreconcilable. But either of these wineskins not only settle for less than God's full portion of Headship, but also relegate the other to either a minimalization or rejection- either way becoming an incomplete dimension of Christ as well.

An alternative for some is to either add Prophetic teaching to the Apostolic dimension or Apostolic structure to Prophetic revelation. While this makes sense as far as not upsetting the existing apple cart, the Biblical reality is that both are to be fully operational, in relationship with each other, and also equipping the saints with the reproducing anointing. That is, if we are all going to be everything God has intended (Eph.2:20; 4:11). But for that to take place, when either foundational ministry is included with the other, the result is to be that both are not only included, but the result of this intermingling is that each is enhanced through the process of change. God's design is that when each are impacted by the other (not just acknowledged in teaching, made room for in the structure, or tolerated but kept separated), the church will be truly upgraded. In actuality, it will then receive a new unshakeable foundation

While I do not propose to answer all the questions one may be facing, perhaps some of what follows will help those who are endeavoring to envision the fullest implications of what God's "move" should and would look like in their church, city, area and region. We need to rise to the challenge of "seeing" the church progress first and foremost in restoration and reformation- not in security, status and abundance. And the crucial aspect of that envisioning process will only come as we allow and encourage Christ's Apostles and Prophets to lead us into a fuller function, fruitfulness, and maturity. This is the pattern God chose to reveal the mystery of Christ's Church, and we are to always be aligned with Him in regard to it– both in revelational understanding and in willingness of heart and lifestyle(Eph.3:3-7).

A Principle Surrounding All Life Is That Form Follows Function.

For instance, God made us to walk and talk, to hear and see, to smell and eat, to touch, feel and think. Therefore, He gave us legs and organs for vocalizing, a nose and related glands, taste buds, teeth and a digestive system, hands, nerves and skin, emotions, a mind and a will. God had a reason for this.

The Father's purpose was that we have communication and relationship with Him. To that end, we were given a spirit for unifying with God through receiving the presence of His Spirit (Gen.2:7; Jn.4:23-24; 1Thess.5:23; Heb.4:12). God specifically designed us for the function He gave us, and the most important function of all was that we be intimately related to Him (Dt.6:4-9). The end result? We were designed to dwell in the earth as a "living spirit" (Gen.2:7). Of course: man fell, the Garden became off limits, and the entire work and purpose of God to restore us goes on until this day, continuing until the consummation of all things. So the question is: how does a "living spirit" in the process of being "conformed to the image of the Son" relate within the church as a body, and to leaders specifically endowed with Christ's foundational grace? (Ro.8:29).

Divine designation of function is an essential first principle for perceiving Christianity. But this is especially true when it comes to Apostleship, the Prophetic, and the corporate wineskins the Spirit is longing to form in churches, ministries, cities, areas and regions as well. Simply put, we need to be and do what we were designed to be and do. And as much as we all have divine commonality, each of us is unique and different (1Cor.12:12-31). Therefore, we will be both one and the same as well many and diverse. Simultaneously. Always. We must allow ourselves to be unique and in variance but still held together by the Spirit which indwells us all (Ro.8:11-16). To be and do that, our form as individuals, churches, ministries, etc., must follow the function for which both we and they were designed.

When form follows function there is not only a basis for function, but for continuing to function as well. In other words, the function God gives you always resides in you, so you can always function in it. Why else would Paul have said to the Corinthians, "the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets" (1Cor.14:32– although that also makes an excellent textual argument for prophetic liberty for those recognized as prophets).

Form is to follow function. That's an indispensable divine first principle. However, can you imagine what the earth and the universe would be like today if God had said, "let's see– I feel creative and want to expand myself– let's see what I come up with and how large I can make it?" If God had decided to construct us in form apart from how He designed us to function, there is no telling what we would have ended up looking like (or what we could have done, either!) But suffice it to say that if He'd taken that approach, we wouldn't have been made in His image (Gen.1:27; 5:2).

God made us in His image, and let's expand that to its complete implication: God, throughout Scripture– whenever He creates, establishes, overhauls, exiles, chastises or even judges– always does so in His image and for the sake of restoring mankind to that very same image (Ro.8:29).

God Can Only Produce After Himself. That's Why Natural And Spiritual Laws Are Eternally Set.

God can only produce after Himself, and that's why natural and spiritual laws such as fruit bearing, sowing and reaping, judging and being judged, and refusing to forgive and remaining unforgiven are eternally set. Because all is gauged by God, He discerns and determines outcomes through His attributes and personality. He remains true to Himself.

The Old and New Covenants are reflections of that nature. The first testifies of His holiness and purity while the second fully demonstrates and establishes His merciful, transforming grace. But this is not only because God is the standard. Moreover, it is because He is creator, sustainer and the ultimate receiver of all life (Col.1:13-22; Ro.11:36).

Because God produces after Himself, we must also realize that Christ's Apostles and Prophets, indeed the whole Church (in an authentic state) will do likewise. Therefore, we must ask ourselves the difficult questions each step of the way, such as:

(1) Am I functioning in the uniqueness that Christ has given me? (Ps.68:18; Eph.4:7-16).

(2) Am I walking in the fullest extent of His call on my life, allowing myself to fully function as He designed? (1Pe.2:4-10).

(3) Am I resisting the temptation to measure myself, the responsibilities and blessings God has given me, ministry, etc., by what others are doing, or according to the way they may be thinking of me? (2Cor.10:12-13).

Christ is after us' to be the unique people He called us to be in this and every hour– to operate in the distinct measure of the portion of His Grace that He gave us to equip, prepare and release His people (Eph.4:7-16). He has always been 'after' His foundational ministers (& indeed the whole body): not only to embrace their uniqueness from Him, but also to glory and even revel in Him because of it and through it as well.

And the designation of Christ for the twelve to be Apostles must be seen as the first specific evidence of Him being so motivated. The second specific evidence of this is their unique insights, ministries, lifestyles and Scriptures of the New Testament– the multi-generationally established proofs of His "design" (Mk.3:13-15).

What will follow are some brief Biblical examples of how these designations can apply, but it is within the freedom of His uniqueness that we must proceed everyday. His fingerprint upon our lives is what brings truthfulness to our relationship with Him: our ministry to, with, and for Him– even all life. There are also some non-negotiables which will be noted, some clear Biblical indicators and benchmarks we must never ignore. Some are reluctant to mention these, but without such clear parameters we lack the authoritative means for discerning our design. Without these we lose track of our progress in the process of full maturity in function and relationship.

Within those boundaries, however, we are free to become the unique persons and ministers He has designed and is molding us into. For we can truly become nothing else, if truly being fashioned by Him. Why? Because He reproduces after Himself, and we are His workmanship (Eph.2:10).