As I have been meditating on what God has been speaking to me concerning my pastoral vocation, He has reminded me of two passages that form the foundation of my ministry. When I agreed to come on as the Senior Pastor of Vineyard Community Church back in January I held up these two passages as my job description.
Mark 3:13-15 ” Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to him those he wanted, and they came to him. He appointed twelve, designating them apostles, that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach and to have authority to drive out demons.”
Acts 6:4 “And we will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.”
As I see it, the foundation of apostolic ministry is intimacy with Jesus – being with Him. The gift of apostleship then isn’t so much a type-A, workaholic, CEO/rancher mentality, but humility and a sincere love for God. Apostles aren’t go-it-alone, do-or-die types, they are men and women constantly seeking the face of God, asking questions of the Father, interceding for the people in their care and boldly proclaiming the message of salvation found in Jesus alone. There are certainly more facets of what it means to be apostolic, but the bread and butter of apostleship is intimacy, prayer and ministry of the word.
I wonder if this reformation within the pastoral vocation isn’t a form of Holy Spirit restoring apostolic leadership to the church. If we are truly going to thrive in the times that are coming we need leaders who are followers of God and not their own church-growth model, we need leaders who give more than a cursory glance at prayer and leaders who realize their highest goal is to sit at the feet of Jesus. I am struck by the realization that the Elders around the Throne in Revelation 4 spend more time on their faces in worship than they do sitting and enjoying their position. It certainly makes one wonder…