At the territorial level of kingdom conquest, the fivefold ministry can either be in order or out of order. The apostolic order can often be as dysfunctional at the territorial level as it can be – and often is the present maturing of the restoration – at the regional.
If the dominance of a shepherding or teaching limits apostolic order in a region – and it often does – then, the same dysfunction of kingdom leadership can and does occur at the territorial level. (This is also true at the national level.)
The issue isn’t about who gets to be the big boy on the block. The question is about who has blueprints for kingdom purpose. Teachers, shepherds, and evangels do not have the territorial blueprints. Apostles do. Prophets have access to them enough to speak to the purpose they are designed to produce.
Apostles have blueprints. The order of kingdom leadership is not hierarchical but functional. Without the proper positioning of leadership, the leadership that dominates the territory will not provide blueprints.
You can sell the purpose. You can describe the purpose. You can accumulate people for the purpose. You cannot build, expand, establish, and function in the construction of purpose without apostolic order and prophetic counsel. You cannot produce the purpose without the proper order.
Jesus designed and defined the leadership roles. A shepherd cannot do the work of an apostle, no matter how wonderful a shepherd he may be. None of the five aspects of kingdom leadership can function appropriately without apostolic order. Each is attempting to do something or not doing something they should be if apostolic order is not the dominate operational order of the kingdom in that territory.
You Cannot Commission Man-Chosen Apostles
You cannot provide yourself an apostle by choosing the dominant leader as an apostle. Either he is or he ain’t. Nothing can be done men to make a leader an apostle. No man can provide him with blueprints when he is not an apostle. No commissioning, honor, election, movement, or organizational initiative could make a leader an apostle if he were not born to apostolic calling before his birth.
Men can either recognize the plan of the King or attempt to negotiate, usurp, or ignore the King and set the order they want. Men can also properly validate what Holy Spirit reveals about the decisions, timing, planning, and leadership assignments of apostles and prophets (as well as all other citizens of the kingdom) so that the territory receives apostolic order.
The conventional approach in the restoration of apostles has been to identify the leader perceived as the most influential or highest level of trust or acceptance in a territory and assume him to be the apostle of the territory. The presupposition has often been, “We didn’t identify leaders as apostles. Now that we have started to do so, we can figure out who the apostle of the territory is by applying church growthism to the present conditions. We have an apostle but didn’t call him “apostle.” So, let’s call him “apostle” or at least recognize that he must be the one with the blueprints.”
That produces dysfunction. That creates a dysfunctional territorial leadership order because the dominant leader is a shepherd or teacher or evangel, not an apostle.
He cannot be made an apostle to fit the presuppositions of church growthism. The guy with the biggest Sunday morning attendance or prominent leadership perception may not be the apostle of the territory. You cannot hijack the church growthism paradigm to determine apostolic order. The two paradigms are at odds.
Territorial Apostolic Order
In New Testament times, the earliest originations began with a small group. The traveling origination team spent fifteen years in Jewish ministry before they saw one non-Jew born of the Spirit. Even then, a non-Jew born of and filled with the Spirit blew their minds, produced an apostolic summit, and revealed a whole new grouping of prophetic expectations.
The territorial order began to form as the kingdom’s home base moved from Jerusalem to Damascus to Antioch to Ephesus in a series of dramatic moves.
The picture we receive of territorial apostolic order comes from Acts 13. Holy Spirit tells the leaders He wanted to validate apostolic assignment that He is expanding the borders of Paul and Barnabas. The word “separate to” means the present defining border of their apostolic assignment was broadened.
We have no other understanding – none that makes sense – of how the King makes apostolic assignments than the ones we see in Scripture. Consider that statement again. Also, step back from the immature apostolic restoration teachings you have received about what Acts 13 portrays. See Acts 13 as the originating apostolic order for territorial apostolic order.
Paul and Barnabas set that order in place.
We must erase a collection of presumptive prophetic proclamation about who sets the apostolic order of territories.
1. Erase the presumption of those that self-appointed because they thought the presuppositions of church-growthism were the same presuppositions as kingdom culture. The political spirit manifests with competition, contrast, and comparison where man controls the order of territory in place of apostolic order. Many assumed they should have that role when they were shepherds or teachers with significant influence. They were wrong in these assumptions.
2. Erase the presumption of church growthism presuppositions that positioned leaders without blueprints for building purpose. The premises were that more of what they were would lead to the fullness of purpose. Without blueprints, the building they worked on did not produce God’s purpose but greater expressions of church growthism. The idea that greater accumulations of believers would alter history, cultures, and generations substituted for kingdom leadership strategies. To make the most influential or popular leader in a territory the apostolic leader of the territory by acclamation or vote is pretense, and pretense is a form of rebellion. The territory was led by a leader who was not an apostle, and the dominant leadership of the territorial remained shepherding or teaching.
3. Erase the prevailing substitute for kingdom leadership dynamics in apostolic order. The transition most restoration leaders made did not establish apostolic order. It put the label “apostle” on the thing already in place and changed nothing about the underlying foundation. Had it done so, it would have started a radical process that led to blueprinting construction. Apostolic order and church growthism are not friendly with one another.