by Bill Click
Part 3

We will fail in our efforts to honor the Lord in the quest to see restoration of the Apostolic/Prophetic foundations if we conceive these to be attainable primarily through organizations and special emphases instead of relationships worked out in the daily life and practice of the church. The precious Apostolic and Prophetic foundational revelation that the Word of God speaks of and clearly calls for does not flow through manmade structures which are so easily constructed. Instead, this Supernatural raw material and DNA lives in those specifically called, anointed, prepared and commissioned people who comprise it. When Apostolic/Prophetic foundation is primarily organizational instead of relational, it can be pointed to as something we "have" not unlike a tool, a program, or even a facility. But when it is primarily relational, it moves within and through the church to create a quality of life which surpasses doctrines, special events, methods, techniques and external affiliations. We may believe by it to be possessed by way of meeting organizational criteria, but by the relational reality of Christ within the ones who have been called is instead a life which possesses us: the life of Christ and hope of His glory (Col.1:27).

When the Spiritual authority residing within people is stirred, activated, released and results in orchestrations of the Spirit that result in relationships and matrixes for ministry, these brings fruit; reproducing fruit. But that same life is then lost as soon as the emphasis shifts from relationships and ministry to the organization as foremost in priority and utmost in accomplishment. Why? Because as growth leads to increased identification and more affiliation, the functions of the Spirit within the ministers become subject to the needs of the organization. Instead, God designed that the administration of the ministry supplement and continually free the Apostolic ministry(Acts 6:1-4). God creates life within and among us, but we have an uncanny tendency to manage "what is" rather than walk with Him as He continues to lead us into "what is yet to be." We are unrelentingly prone to administrate rather than just continue to allow Him to minister, trusting for the details to be worked out as we go along. We have a propensity towards performance which continually organizes rather than just continues to allow the Holy Spirit to orchestrate and direct. This being the tendency and our track record, how will we (human beings) keep what God is doing Apostolically and Prophetically from turning completely inward and begin feeding on itself (therefore, becoming "human doings" instead)?

We must continue to seek to provide the Apostolic and Prophetic with outlets for fellowship, networking and accountability, that is certain. But we must always remember that organizations exist for people, people do not exist for organizations. The serving of structures at the expense of the move of God can start off innocently enough, but it requires authentic discernment that is self-critical, leading to tough decision making and radical changes which reverse the course once it has been headed in the wrong direction. (& this is another area in which the Apostolic should & must listen to the Prophetic, even though it can sound so over-simplistic). The "baby" of God's chosen birthing is the reality that Apostolic/Prophetic relationships are essential for what God wants to continue to do, and that God is going to (necessarily) wait on the Apostles and Prophets for this before moving any farther forward with the rest of the Body (Eph.2:19-21). That said, the "bath water" of our 'efforts' is the overemphasis on establishing the visible, quantitative aspect of the Apostolic/Prophetic at the expense of the very life God designed it to bring to the church. Quite simply, the Apostolic/Prophetic (not unlike anything else) may becoming self-suffocating by its attempts to further itself at the expense of the very purposes for which God gave it.

We MUST remember, that whenever we intend and endeavor to grow and strengthen the organizational framework of the Apostolic/Prophetic, there is some 'thing' lurking ever near us, longing for a way in. What is that 'thing?' It is the spirit of denominationalism. That may sound conspiratorial (& even paranoid), but it is true nonetheless. Sectarianism (even that which masks itself in terms of "unity") is very seductive as it is introduced. And it is entered into innocently whenever one (finally) finds fellowship with others who have also received the "real truth." But, throughout the history of the church, as that rallying cry of "progress" is heard and heeded, we inevitably find that procedures, policies, programs, and figureheads take priority over knowing one another and having authentic relationship.

As a result, the organizational entity (without exception) becomes political. Why? Because it has been reduced to social power. God created it as a Spiritual reality to be rooted and flowing in Divine power, but it has become people top-heavy, instead of Spirit-oriented. Therefore, when it gathers under the authority of the organizational rather as the result of the call of the Lord, its focus is on self, the status of the organization, the ongoing prospects for its success (i.e.: need for commitment), the periodic and annual rallying events (which serve to reinforce its identity & measure its show of strength). Lastly, the welfare of those who comprise the group so that it may be sustained and strengthened for the sake of the show of force. God, however, created us to go forth with eyes on a field which is "white unto harvest" (Jn.4:35). Those are the "spheres" we are to be preoccupied with (2Cor.10:13).

There are precious men and women of God among us who love Christ and have given their lives to see God do what has been accomplished through them to this point. And our understanding was (& often remains) authentic as to why we were "drawn" toward them and/or the organization which has grown out of their fruitfulness. But once any and every organization disconnects from the life which founded it by becoming self-focused, the eternal fuel of its inception is forever lost. I am not arguing that God is not using Apostolic/Prophetic organizations, because clearly He is. But the shifts toward denominationalism which become made over time are very subtle, and often as unrecognizable as they are unintentional. At first.

The 'alterations' people make on what God did to begin a "move" take them and the organization away from that which brought it together: the mutual life of God. This is why revival movements eventually fade; this is how denominations become formed. Once priorities are focused inward at the expense of the harvest, the continued Spiritual energy for doing what God ultimately intends becomes refused and then lost. The presence of God for receiving and releasing creativity through uniqueness then becomes increasingly grieved. How? As uniformity of "stance" is preferred to unity of "spirit." As a result, His will is eventually denied and all understandings of the "now" of God become ultimately lost, having instead becoming doctrinal standards for separating between "them" and "us." A brief look at North American church history from 1620 to the present will verify this for anyone who may wish to dispute.

We may want to argue that Apostles and Prophets wouldn't dare succumb to the failings of the past because they are "foundational ministries." But we would be in utter denial and display a terminal lack of insight and forethought if we chose not to learn from the mistakes of others. By refusing to learn from the past, our only option is to repeat those same mistakes.

It can be very easy for a misunderstood segment of the church (such as the Apostolic & Prophetic often is) to find solace in mutual cooperation and the pooling of resources, but we must participate with and commit to these by the Spirit of God. Unity is not when we agree with each other for the sake of demonstrating a semblance of togetherness or show of force against the enemy. True unity is available to all who come into agreement with the Lord, however. The Acts Council yielded to the Word and the Spirit (Acts 15:7-11, 12-19; 28). When there is real Scriptural unity attested to by the Spirit, the oil flows from the head, the beard, and even to the edge of the robe (Psa.133). In other words, authentic unity strengthens the manifestation of the Spirit for demonstrating and establishing the Kingdom of God throughout the entire Body. But when unity is comprised of organizational cooperation apart from the Word and Spirit, it can become an endless cycle of deferring to one another until those who have the least to lose (usually the largest &/or most financially "secure" group) gathers the courage or political influence for taking charge. What results in those instances can seem to be (for some) an impressive expansion through assimilation. But it always results in a diluted strength, a more unclear identity, and an "uncertain sound" which is ultimately useless both to God and those wanting to see real Kingdom advance and growth (1Cor.14:8).

It is God's plan that Apostles and Prophets lead the way through their unique endowments of Christ by the Spirit of God. And the intent of God's Word to us in regard to foundational revelation will be forever dependant upon the degree to which Apostolic and Prophetic ministries are relationally joined and built together, since both are indispensable to the church's foundation. When Apostles and Prophets learn to walk and work together locally- both within and among congregations- by enhancing and mutually benefiting one another for the sake of the Body in order to glorify God, then Christ will be more fully expressed and experienced. As a result, the church will be able to rise up to fulfill not only the Great Commission, but also the maturing of the Bride in intimacy and ministry which precedes the return of the Bridegroom.

To accomplish this with integrity, Apostles and Prophets will need to be secure enough to disagree with one another whenever Christ's nature, anointing and purpose would otherwise be violated. They will also need to persevere in pounding-out individual frameworks and encourage one another to do the same. And they will need to know by the Spirit of God when not to be in relationship with others. This, not because of a fear of contamination, but simply because God is not orchestrating (within them) what is being called for (by seemingly everyone else). But it is clear that whatever the form of their mutual function may be, Apostles and Prophets share in the same function: to provide foundation for the church. But they do so only by continually receiving and ministering revelation of "the mystery of Christ" (Eph.3:5; 2:20).