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Pray For Fraternity & Sorority Students Today

As many of you know my wife and I work with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship with a specific emphasis in reaching fraternity and sorority students. We moved to LA two and a half years ago to start a ministry that would reach all 17 Greek Systems in the Greater Los Angeles area.

One of the highlights of the year is National Greek Conference in Indianapolis and it is this weekend. There are 650 students here – all Greek – and they are seeking God and surrendering their life to him in many ways. We have flown out over 20 students from LA to be a part of this awesome conference.

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The Apostle & Their Ego

This is a guest post by Brian Sanders. He leads an incredible church network in Tampa Bay called Underground. He is one of the most inspiring leaders I know. I love listening to him teach and I love the way he thinks about leadership, church planting, and missional communities. He is an apostolic leader through and through and you see this no better than in the way he is the chief architect for his network of churches. But he also comes hard with timely prophetic words. One of which was his last post you can find here.

Sometimes, what appeals to us in the word and world of the apostle is the sense of grandeur and even importance it conjures. I think this is a deep misunderstanding of the calling of an apostle. We should not aspire to engage in apostolic ministry or apostolic calling because it somehow seems BIGGER than merely being a pastor. We do not rail against the shepherd-teacher model of church because it is too small. Its smallness is probably one of the things that is most noble about that kind of church and ministry. We challenge it because it is out of balance, not because it is small. I keep meeting people who are nominally claiming an apostolic rubric for their ambition, simply to mask their delusions of grandeur. No one wants to plant a church anymore, they want to plant a movement. In one sense this is the epitome of the apostolic urge, and it can be very holy – but only if it is accompanied with an equally profound personal humility. The role of apostle should actually be the most modest of all the roles because nothing that we do or dream is FOR us or ABOUT us.

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How Do You Move APEs From the Fringe to The Center of Your Mission?

One of the key tasks of leadership is to get people to buy in to the mission – especially talented people that are all over the place.

One of the sad things that I see is apostolic, prophetic, and evangelistic leaders written off too quickly because they don’t fit ministry contexts primarily driven by shepherding and teaching activities. Because they are not fitting in well, they get distracted, pull in different directions, and often times are not brought into the center of the mission.

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Are APEs an Endangered Species?

primal-fireFrom the book Primal Fire, By Neil Cole with Dezi Baker, Ed Waken, Phil Helfer and Paul Kaak

As we look back over church history, we might be tempted to ask where all the APEs have gone? The church has long been dominated by pastors and teachers (who are often seen as one and the same), but the apostles, prophets, and evangelists have largely been missing from the local church context. Ephesians 4 is clear that all the gifts come from Jesus and that all the gifts are necessary for the equipping of the saints for the work of service. Did He stop giving certain gifts because they were cast aside or not appreciated? No, all the gifts are given until the body is fully mature, so all the gifts are present in every generation, though they may not be evident.

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5 Most Read Posts of 2014

2014 was another great year for the RTA blog and two major things happened. We redesigned our website and launched an ebook that is a 101 guide to APE ministry. If you haven’t checked out our FREE Ebook, please download it and read through it with your teams. It will help many of your people need better empowerment into their callings as A, P, or E!

Now without further ado, here are the top five read posts of 2014.

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Ferguson: An Evangelist’s Response

This is a guest post by Jason Gaboury. He is the Regional Director of New York/New Jersey with InterVarsity. He directs and oversees the work of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship to undergraduates in that massive area!

Our nation is reeling again.  When a grand jury failed to indict officer Wilson of any charge in the shooting death of Michael Brown, frustration and anger exploded in the street.  Screens of smart phones lit up with tweets, articles, and commentary.  Comments fly.  Frustration escalates.  There are outbreaks of violence and riots.  Policing, particularly the militarized form used to ‘control’ the crowd is scrutinized.  Pain is in the air.

How should Christians respond? 

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Good News in the Everyday Stuff of Life

This is a guest post by Jeff Vanderstelt. He  is a pastor at Soma Communities, an A29 church in Tacoma, WA. He is leader of leaders and a coach and trainer for church planters. His background includes music, business management, working with youth, training youth workers in North America and Europe and starting new churches.

“This is Jeff, that pastor I told you about that is not like a normal pastor,” Amy said as she introduced me to Clay. Clay and Christie had children who attended our local elementary with Amy’s children. Amy had told us many times that she didn’t believe what we did. However, she regularly introduced us to her friends thinking they might be interested.

We’d lived in the neighborhood for three years with the intent of bringing good news to this community, and that the syllables and sentences were meant to be enfleshed. We started by hosting a cookout every Friday night. At first we were told people didn’t do that in our neighborhood. However, the kingdom of God has the power to break in and create a new culture. It happened. Dinner parties became more normative, as did other celebrations.

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Becoming “Bi-Vocational” Saved My Ministry

This is a guest post by Doug Black Jr. He is a bi-vocational minister in the Philadelphia area and really passionate about making disciples where ever he goes! check him out at http://www.heyitsdoug.com

I was in youth ministry for years, reaching a group of students that (was supposed to be) between grades 7-12. These were amazing students, and many of them are still following Christ to this day, some thanks to us and some in spite of us. These students were reaching their friends at their lunch tables, giving testimonies and reports in classes, and becoming leaders in our growing little church.

And I was sitting in an office, wondering what to do while they were in school. Sure, I would prepare events and message. I would do some administrative stuff. But, I had a devastating hunger for more: making disciples where there were none, seeing ministry happened like Jesus did it, connecting with students, teachers and school events.

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Are You Leading A Monument Or A Movement?

By Jon Hietbrink

It’s relatively easy to see “flash in the pain” success, but it’s another thing entirely to lead a movement that sustains growth over time. As APE leaders we have a unique role to play in both leading change within existing systems and helping our movements “surf the edge of chaos” in a way that propels enduring momentum, and one of the key pitfalls we must avoid is allowing our movements to become monuments—slowly decaying symbols of past success, but absent of the intrinsic vitality we see in living things.

One of the key functions of apostolic leadership goes beyond merely interpersonal to systemic influence— we cultivate environments where movements can thrive and combat the temptations of monument. Here’s a few warning signs that monument thinking is taking root and organizational recalibration is needed.

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