Last week I had the privilege of being at InterVarsity’s Directors meetings with all the Directors in InterVarsity nation wide. During the time I was in a track on planting and we talked all about planting movements, and how to increase the number of campuses that InterVarsity is currently reaching in the USA. Right now we are on 575. We want to get to 1000 by 2017 (At least some of us are dreaming that way!)
If that is going to happen we need an apostolic movement, and we have to continue to welcome this in InterVarsity. Here is a definition of apostolic that a core group of us have landed on for now:
“An apostolic person is sent by God’s Spirit to expand the Kingdom across boundaries into new places”.
The key thing about apostolic people and therefore apostolic movements is that “sending” is happening and boundaries are being crossed.
When apostolic people show up in your meetings, they are pushing, pulling and prodding for the church or team to send people out, and expand the ministry to a new location.
Apostolic people energize the ministry not just to grow up and bigger in the current place, but to expand outwards into new territories. They are really tapped into the sent nature of God.
But an apostolic movement involves everyone, not just the apostolic people. We need the prophets, evangelists, shepherds and teachers fully engaged. What I am not saying is that the apostolic is the most important gift or best gift. What I am saying is that we need to welcome it and foster it in our ministries. Unfortunately we do not do this well and I think that is because this calling and person is not convenient to the local context…actually contrary. Their goal and heartbeat is to send people out and away!
Again, an apostolic movement is one that is prioritizing sending and reaching new places. Sending is the focus and you’re moving and working towards that end.
Regularly hear from God about where He is going and send into that place
So they have to be
- Low on control (willing to let go and send)
- See the whole field needing to be planted not just their own ministry and local area. (not just their church or campus)
1 Now in the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul. 2 While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” 3 So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.
- I love that the community is taking time to worship and pray together to hear from God on what His plans are
- I love how the prophets and teachers are leading the way in this worship meeting
- I love how they can actually hear God tell them to send off two of their best leaders (Barnabas & Saul)
- How many of our churches and ministries can’t even hear that because we are too focused on our “own thing”?
- I love how they actually send them off. Barnabas and Saul are ready and willing to go.
I leave you with this then
- Are we regular gathering with our people to hear God’s sending purposes with our people?
- Are we open to sending our best people out of our immediate ministry?
- Are our people ready and willing to go wherever God calls, or are we stuck on doing ministry if it is at the current church or campus you are in?
We can’t reach all the cities, neighborhoods, campuses and cultural enclaves if we don’t have a strong sending impulse in our ministry. But having a sending impulse means letting go of control, seeing the whole field not just our own, and being willing to gladly hear from God where He is wanting to go and sending into that place.