The Spiritual Gift of Apostle

Personally this is an exciting time for me because my church –Yarra Plenty Church in north east Melbourne, has just voted to join a much larger church, Planetshakers Church, and become their north east suburbs campus.

The main reason that I am excited about this is that Planetshakers are led by someone who I regard as having the spiritual gift of apostle – Russell Evans.  Russell planted Planetshakers just 8 years ago and has proceeded to break every growth record Australia has.  Where the journey will end is anyone’s guess, but I’m delighted that I get to go along for the ride.

One of the curious things about the spiritual gifts that the bible discusses is that definitions are not given.  We are left to work out for ourselves exactly what the gifts are and are not.

Some believe that the gift of apostle no longer exists, and that at the end of the apostolic age (with the completion of the New Testament) the gift ceased.  I don’t accept this argument.  There is simply no statement in the bible that these gifts will cease.  It is simply an argument from experience (or the lack of experience more precisely).

Bill Hybels in his Network course notes that the “office” of apostle held by the original disciples of Christ was a unique role that no longer exists but the “role” of apostle continues.  He goes on to define apostle as “the divine ability to start and oversee the development of new churches or ministry structures.”

Another definition is given by C. Peter Wagner – “The gift of apostle is the special ability that God gives to certain members of the Body of Christ to assume and exercise general leadership over a number of churches with an extraordinary authority in spiritual matters that is spontaneously recognized and appreciated by those churches.”

The Hybels definition focuses more on starting new ministries where the emphasis in the Wagner definition is on authority.  Personally I prefer the Wagner definition.  When my church voted to join Planetshakers Church there were 174 votes cast.  Russell Evans had preached 2 weeks prior so the congregation knew who he was.  The result of the vote was 174 in favour of joining Planetshakers and zero against.  It was a stark example of ‘extraordinary authority in spiritual matters’ being ‘recognised and appreciated’.

The reason that Russell Evan’s apostolic gift has me so excited is because I can see that when someone labours underneath the authority of an apostle they achieve far more for the kingdom than what they would if they were doing the same thing on their own.  Whatever God has in mind for me it will be much more fruitful because of Russell’s giftedness and calling.  It’s a strange thing – I don’t know why it works that way but I have a very deep conviction that I will do everything God has in mind for me to do by working underneath the apostle that God has put over me.  Bring it on!

John

6 Comments to “The Spiritual Gift of Apostle”

  1. Funny thing is John that being realtively new to faith but having read the Bible through a couple of times now and having completed a Graduate Diploma in Theology, I would not and could not have concluded that the ‘apostolic’ gifting ceased at the end of the New Testament. Someone has to tell you that since it cannot be obviously concluded from a striaght up and down reading of the Bible (if there is such a thing!)… or can it and I have missed something… and what about prophets? I thought a knew one!

    Great stuff!

  2. There is also a belief that apostles are those who also seen and been with Jesus. Liked you post but I am one who believe that there are no longer apostles. Good to see russel is doing well, my memory of russel is of him camping (royal rangers) as a teenager and being very focused on his hair. He can’t do that now. Exited to hear how God is moving in your church.

    • Thanks Darren. Even if you don’t accept that the apostolic gift is still in the church then you would probably say that the spiritual gift of leadership (mentioned in Romans 12) is. I imagine that you would say Russell has that gift, but there are not many around that are as gifted as heavily as him.

  3. Thanks for this John. It’s great to see your heart in this. I’m looking forward to seeing everything God has in store for you unfold.

  4. John, You wrote “I have a very deep conviction that I will do everything God has in mind for me to do by working underneath the apostle that God has put over me. Bring it on!” I just wanted to add that for me personally, I couldn’t agree more. Great blog. 🙂

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