How would someone, called to be an apostle, prepare for that ministry? Is there training for apostolic ministry? Where would you go? What might that training or preparation include? Most of those who have that calling, assignment, office, have had to receive their preparation by means other than traditional schooling or ministries.
Please understand, it is difficult to speak of the things that follow. I feel like Paul when he said you’ve forced me to talk like a fool. No one desires to put oneself forward, yet in order to be a blessing to others, we must share what God is doing in our lives. We overcome the enemy by the word of our testimony. I cannot speak for all apostles, so I will testify to my own preparation in a sincere desire to assist someone who may be as baffled as I was.
First, apostolic ministry is not our choice but Christ’s. He sends. No one can choose to be an apostle. Jesus calls and sends. We either go or we don’t. From my conversion experience through my most recent ministry, all has been initiated by Jesus. My role is to respond to his calling and sending. From the time He spoke my name on Christmas day, 1976, He has been revealing His purposes and shaping my character–purging what is in me that hinders his honor. As I’ve responded in obedience (and that has never been perfect), I have been entrusted with more. And often I have not deserved to be sent by Him or to have seen the marvelous things I’ve witnessed. I can truly say it is all of Him. I would not have chosen this path. But I would not want to be on any other. He must become more and more . . . And we must go where He leads. Of course, others must confirm that call. Others will recognize, probably before you will, that you are called to the greater body of Christ. And your going and serving will have results. People will know that you have authority to bless and encourage, to comfort and challenge. Sometimes displays of gifts accompany assignments. These also “testify” to your assignment or ministry in any given place, at His appointed time.
Second, apostles share a deep passion for the Father, and the Kingdom. The apostle Paul said, “The love of God constrains me.” He was pushed, pulled , drawn on, and compelled by love of the Father and Jesus. And for love of those who are loved by God–his people. More about this apostolic passion in my next book.
Third, God has prepared us:
REJECTION. We have known rejection. We have had to fight through feelings of inadequacy and abandonment. My life before Christ has been one of rejection and continues to be in some sense even today; I experience rejection but from a different angle than when I was a child. The Lord has taught me not to take ministry rejection personally. Don’t get me wrong–it’s still difficult. But it’s not about me. I need only to be obedient and speak what I’m given. Faithfulness is all that’s required of me once I’ve heard and understood.
IDENTITY. We know who God says we really are. We are sons. We have found our identity in Him. Though I am the least among his many living apostles, I know that I am a son and have His authority on my life. I don’t always know how to walk in that and am learning more daily, but Jesus continually presents his own calling–his death and resurrection–in my life. I know that I am walking into His plan and purpose. I also know that difficulty awaits. But so does unimaginable blessing and fruit. I have many promises of God that I am waiting to see unfold. And they will.
KNOWLEDGE. We are learning and are living out what the Father is teaching. We are no longer on milk, laying over and over the same foundations; we have learned the teaching about righteousness (Heb 5.13-6.1). Now we are called to go from sincere love to deep love (1 Pt. 1.22 NIV). We have also prepared ourselves with study of the Word of God. Some of us have studied formally and others informally. Some have done both. But God has taught us. And we know that what makes us most effective is hearing first for ourselves. Being not only hearers, but doers of the Word. Then hearing what “the Spirit is ‘saying’ to the church.”
CHARACTER. We are being shaped by His hands. He is forming vessels of honor (to give honor and bring honor to Him). But the job description is not one that flocks sign up for. When I sought the Lord, asking Him how I could prepare, the Holy Spirit took me to meditate on and abide in 1 Cor. 4.9-21. Take time to immerse yourself in this text before you glamorize apostolic ministry. That said, there is nothing I know as thrilling as being sent on assignment. Whether that be to the local store or to a church gathering several states away or to the Republic of Georgia (I was sent there immediately following the Russian incursion into Georgia with a specific assignment to a specific man, with specific words. When I arrived, he was an atheist, today he is a precious brother in Christ. Dearer to me than flesh and blood brother. His conversion, while I stayed at his home, transformed not only his life and his family, but mine as well. His church and the market where he works was also impacted for Christ). God has a special call and assignment on his life too. Just as he has in yours.
These are some of the preparations I have experienced. I share more about the authority of apostles in my book, We’re the “sons of God” . . . So What?–available at Amazon.com.
Why not participate in a discussion. Leave a comment. Let us know if this post helps you or if you have something that can help someone prepare for apostolic ministry.
©2011, Dr. David C Alves
“You will never know how hard it was to keep you boys busy,” my dad acknowledged in a moment of morphine-induced honesty following surgery for colon cancer.
“Did it ever occur to you to give us a day off?” my youngest
Dad hesitated, but only for a moment — “The thought never crossed my mind.”
“Keep busy” buzzes in my head. My daily “to do” list gives an often distorted shape to my day.
In A Sabbatical Primer for Pastors, David Alves raises his voice over the buzz. “God is taking you out of the brick making business,” he writes. With frequent references to his own story, David argues that Sabbath and Sabbaticals offer a God-designed way for me to be free from the drivenness that has served as a constant companion since my youth.
The Primer troubles me with a question that lingers like the scent of a powerful perfume: which father’s voice will shape the remaining years of my life?
–Clayton Blackstone, author of Meet Me for Breakfast and Pastor of the Advent Christian Church in Bangor, Maine
As of January 2012, Americans murdered approximately 54,559,615 babies. We have just entered 2014.
A new estimate published by the National Right to Life Committee indicates there have been an estimated 54,559,615 abortions since the Supreme Court handed down its 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision allowing virtually unlimited abortions. –by Steven Ertelt | Washington, DC | LifeNews.com | 1/23/12 6:37 PM
Joel Rosenberg writes:
Consider the horror of that fact. We as a nation will soon have murdered ten times more Americans than the number of Jews that the Nazis killed during the Holocaust.
When will the killing end? When will abortionists be outlawed? When will the curtain be peeled back so that people open their eyes to see what abortion mills are doing to our children? Every clinic in America that offers to slaughter the innocents will be destroyed when the Day of God appears unless those who run them and get rich off of them repent and turn to God for mercy.
You mostly silent, moral majority who claim to be “Pro-life” in table discussions . . . What will you tell your children that you DID–personally–to prevent this kind of horror in the early 21st Century? How much time, resources, or money have you invested in the war against infanticide. What have you risked to save the innocent?
Remember, Scripture records God’s view of rationalizing inaction by saying: But, I didn’t know . . .
“Rescue those who are unjustly sentenced to die; save them as they stagger to their death. Don’t excuse yourself by saying, “Look, we didn’t know.” For God understands all hearts, and he sees you. He who guards your soul knows you knew. He will repay all people as their actions deserve.” (Proverbs 24:11–12, NLT)
Selective abortion is an abomination. Late term abortions are serial killings. It is the result of the depraved and darkened mind. God hates it. And He will not take ignorance as an excuse for doing nothing. This is a spiritual battle. Is your voice being heard? Will heaven have a recording of your outrage at the desolation of our murdered American children?
At the very least, we must stop using nice euphemisms for making baby-murder more palatable at table conversations. Let’s call it what it really is. We also need to not wait until a girl is a woman and mother to value her choice. I choose to value choice in the womb. The tiny future mothers have a choice but need us to make it for them. How have we ever allowed ourselves to fear the disdain of the depraved and their bogus, self-centered reasons for championing the annihilation of generations of girls and boys? God have mercy on us if we stood by and did nothing!
I believe–should the Lord not return soon–that future generations will outlaw these atrocities. They will look back upon the 50+ years of legalized abortions and ask their parents and their grandparents what they were thinking and doing to put an end to the holocaust of infanticide. If our country survives (though we do not deserve to), future generations will erect Holocaust Museums in honor of the slain millions of babies. How will you rationalize your many trips to the sports arena without one attempt to “rescue those who are unjustly sentenced to death” in the abortion mills of our fallen nation? How will you look into the eyes of Christ at His Coming and escape His wrath?
I believe that those who end the horror may also hunt down–as criminals against humanity–those who carried out these atrocities as well as those who supported them. Like Nazi war criminals and the leaders of the SS death camps, abortionist nurses and doctors will be anathema–hunted criminals. Perhaps in the swing back to law and order that history shows is inevitable, the abortionists will themselves be executed. I don’t wish for this, but I would certainly understand it. I pray that in that day, they will receive the mercy they were unwilling to give to the children they annihilated.
I’m not sure how these people go home after a day in the killing fields, sit at the dinner table with their families, and then go tuck their children in at night without a second’s thought about the children they murdered that day and the parents who will not experience the joy of tucking their beautiful children in at night.
A National Infant Holocaust Museum will draw tens of thousands of incredulous visitors every year. Photos of piles of discarded and dismembered children will hang on the walls. And the abortionists, children, grand-children and great grand-children will parade past the evidence and hang their heads in shame for what their parents and grand-parents did for “a living”.
That’s why I hope one abortionist reads this shocking post and wakes up, before it’s too late, to abandon his or her lust for money and blood. I hope one lazy “Christian,” who sings praise and worship songs on Sunday morning and drives a girlfriend to get an abortion on Monday will “wake up!”
As for the press, they need to follow the money. There’s HUGE money in late-term abortions. Why won’t you report THAT story? Or are you a part of the killing machine too? Below is an example of what I’m talking about:
Joel Rosenberg writes at: http://flashtrafficblog.wordpress.com/
A CLEAN BODY! EAT CLEAN IN 2014!
Maybe its just that I’m nearing the 60 mark… Maybe its the temperamental hip that likes to shout when I happen to go in a compromised direction… Maybe its an awareness that too many young people around me are being ripped from life at too young an age by the evil ravages of addiction… Perhaps its the children in the supermarket full of the excitement of Christmas whose, “mommy, mommy, mommy” is being ignored or worse yet shouted at with expletives that should not come from a truck drivers mouth, let alone a mommy… Maybe its my own toxic thoughts and thoughtless words to someone I love when the heat of the moment is brought on by the stress of the day… Perhaps its the kidney stones that jab “Good Morning” to me everyday or the knee that…
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I fall short in many ways. I’m sure I’m not a great pastor nor a good church manager, but I have regained my focus this past week.
As was John the Baptist, I am a man “sent by Christ” to be “a witness.” The Lord renewed this calling and assignment on Christmas morning–36 years ago to the date that I first received the truth about my sin and the Lord’s grace. During an early morning study time on Christmas morning last week, the Lord pointed me to Acts 20.24 as my verse for 2014.
“But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.” (Acts 20:24, ESV)
I am a witness of the love of Jesus for the lost, abandoned, fatherless, and those who have been discarded by the world. I am a witness of how weak ones–conceived and steeped in sin–are nonetheless loved by a gracious Father and treasured by a compassionate Savior. That’s why Jesus is Lord of my life. It is His doing, all by His grace. Of that, I am a witness and a sign. And I am healed of rejection and a broken heart. For I who was nothing am a son of the Living God (Rom. 8.14, 16).
Well, David . . . how do we know you can be trusted as a witness? Because Jesus gave the criteria for trustworthiness: John 7:18.
“The one who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory; but the one who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and in him there is no falsehood.” (John 7:18, ESV)
The Lord knows and so do those who know me best and have watched my life for many years.
It’s so good to KNOW whose we are, where we’re headed, and what our assignment is.