There are many gifts, which have been bestowed upon the Church. There are three-sets of New Testament gifts. We have the gifts in Romans 6 as those given by the Father, the Gifts of the Spirit as they are commonly known in Corinthians, and the Ascension Gifts as the ones Jesus gave his Church. The Ascension Gifts have been given by Christ to facilitate bringing the Church into maturity. In Ephesians it states these gifts were distributed as an inheritance at Christ’s ascension. This is probably one of the most elementary, yet paramount truths regarding these unique gifts. The truth I’m referring to is simply this, as promotion came to Christ, he in turn blessed the lesser, us. This should unveil a cornerstone for apostolic ministry.As promotion comes to us we must be releasing a wake of gifts that causes those in our sphere of influence to be empowered and released. In other words, bringing them into realms of dominion far outside their ability to produce.
These Ascension Gifts were not meant to be a pretext for ego-centered, narcissistic vessels; leaders who simply seek to obtain offerings and honor. Although honor and offerings may be well deserved, these gifts were given with intentionality; that they would serve the Body as “giver-functions”. Bringing the Body of Christ into maturity and oneness. Although we’ve seen many immature representations of this magnificent of 5-ascension gifts, Christ has the master blueprint and he is acutely aware of the resources needed to bring all of us into our full measure. Our early Church predecessors turned the world upside down without the use of mass transportation, worldwide web or smart phones. Indulge me for the next few minutes and dream with me for a bit as we get glimpses of what we are about to be entrusted with in the 21-Century.
If we wish to detach the superfluities from our contemporary apostolic representatives, the apostleship would look more like this; apostles “kingdomize” territories, prophets awaken destiny, evangelists convince the masses, while pastors lead the masses to green pastors and teachers make sure our spiritual/natural diet is healthy! Jesus intended for this set of gifts to work with similitude of authority & dominion. They were intended to be more of a round-table as opposed to a hierarchy that positions the apostles as the super power of the five. These Ephesians gifts represent the ministry of Jesus we find in Isaiah 9:6-7. Apostles release wonder, Prophets the counsel, Evangelist the might of God, Pastors God’s Fathering heart and Teachers the peace, which passes understanding and, in this context, “of the increase of His Government there will be no end.”
The churches we oversee should be altering regions. This is one of the primary indicators of our apostleship. Many have used the apostolic gift to amass people rather than transform regions. However, any other model that is not intended to wonderfully change a region is drastically removed from the heart of Jesus. The apostolic is always seeking and never afraid to venture into new geographic, creative, revelational, cerebral or theological landscapes.
I’m going to focus on the apostleship within the local church for the rest of the article. If the churches we plant or oversee are not altering regions, we are not apostolic. Many have used the apostolic gift to amass people rather than transform regions. However, any other model that is not intended to wonderfully change a region is drastically removed from the heart of Jesus. The apostolic is always seeking to break into new geographic, creative and revelational areas. In other words, the apostolic is not afraid to venture into new geographic, cerebral and theological landscapes.
Why cerebral and theological you may ask. The apostolic opens up the realm of wonder. Not only do apostles release wonderful signs, but they lead us to the place where we are left with more questions. When we observe denominationalism, for the most part, they cannot legitimize the apostolic because in many of those organizations we were trained not to incite outlooks or opinions that could swing the status quo. On the contrary, in this divine apostolic roundtable model, we gather around covenanted relationships as opposed to mere theological agreement. The oneness Christ prayed we would have will not come because we have all adjusted to each others limited theological perspectives; it will reveal itself through us when we have all synchronized to this Wonder-Filled God!
There is no need to panic! Christ has set aside a vestige of virginal leaders who refuse to lay with ego, riches, clout or any other pubescent enticement. Finally, we have those who have been tried, sifted and found worthy of both title and function. We implore you with all humility, do not hesitate to teach us from your mosaic of successes and failures. Many of us are patiently looking for and desiring your transparency.
If then, we are genuine apostolic leaders according to 2 Corinthians 11:7-11 which characterizes them by humility, truth and love, we will desire to remain true to sound doctrine as students of the Spirit and not as stale theologians who have an allegiance to a particular dogma. The banner under which we must all remain is clearly stated in Proverbs 4:7, Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding.
During this season there are those who have not had their spiritual hard drive corrupted and have remained untainted. Many of these untainted ones are not visible to the naked eye because they remain in a clandestine wilderness as they are groomed by the Spirit and in instances, more common than not, by the other Ephesian’s gifts. Soon they will be unveiled and they will be a masterpiece to behold. Others wait with restricted notoriety, being tested with little. This is the “Mammon Test”. A test we must all pass lest we meet the fate of the prophet Balaam or of Judas Iscariot. Christ has set aside a vestige of virginal leaders refuse to lay with ego, riches, clout or any other pubescent enticement. Then finally, we have those who have been tried, sifted and found worthy of both title and function. Do not hesitate to teach us from your mosaic of successes and failures. Many of us are patiently looking for your transparency.
Fellow apostles, although we may feel like the lanky teenager with long arms, big feet and braces, we must not circumvent the development process. It should not be replaced with the Spirit’s gift-set found in Corinthians. Those who choose to wield power without process, risk being rejected at the throne for being a worker of iniquity. When presenting the ministry of apostleship instruct the Body "with great patience and careful instruction" (2 Timothy 4:2). Live powerfully, humbly and outrageously courageous even if nobody ever sees your name on a marquee. The purpose of your gift is to kingdomize regions, empower and release. Dear magnificent Ascension Gifts, I charge you to leave a legacy for those you love and have been called to, bring the Body of Christ into mature oneness.
Dr. John Garcia, Legacy Church