What It Is
An apostle is:
... a broken man before God. He realizes that nothing he does is of any value without God. Without God he is powerless, defeated, of little worth. With God he “can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens me”. He must be a humble man, submitting to and serving others. He does not dictate; he listens. He does not command; he serves. He does not dominate or control; he leads through service and surrenders control to the Holy Spirit.
... a broken man before man. He realizes he cannot be of any value to God if he cannot be in proper relationship with whom he is in agreement in ministry. His perspective is seeing the “big picture”, but realizes that he personally cannot accomplish that picture without other brethren and sisters who have different passions, desires, and perspectives than his. He needs the body of Christ as they need him.
... a man who allows the Holy Spirit to be in control. He does only what the Holy Spirit tells him to do, not what he thinks that he should do. That is how Jesus, the ultimate Apostle, operated while on earth, doing only what His Father showed or told Him to do. As Jesus tried to teach his squabbling disciples, the leaders in the Kingdom of God who wanted to sit at his right hand or his left, that they did not understand Biblical leadership, an apostle will be one who will have to support or sustain those under his care, not rule them by placing them under his feet. He will spiritually place the serpent, satan, under his feet and crush him, but not the saints. In the Kingdom of God you serve those under your authority, not lord it over them. Jesus is the prime example. All those under His authority he served while on earth. He never dictated to them. He just served them, washed their feet, loved, cared, nurtured, and eventually died for them. The apostle is one who believes in I John 3:16 because he is willing to lay down his life for his brethren because Jesus laid down His life for him! A true apostle is a very humble man because he has had to be broken of all pride and self-centeredness before he could ever perform his talents in ministry. An apostle is a mature man or women in Christ, for he has to exemplify Christ in every area of his life while all eyes are watching him as a witness. Everything he says and does influences others toward Jesus Christ.
... a man who has an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ, seeking at all times to know the heart of the Father, so that he can reveal it to the Body of Christ through teaching and service. He is a man whose perspective is to see the big picture, the entire “Body of Christ”, the embodiment of Jesus Christ here on earth. In order to see over this Body, he has to have a revelation of the big picture. He has to have the revelation of the Father’s heart in all matters. He has to reveal that Father’s heart, which is love to the entire Body of Christ. He has to be willing to take 100% responsibility of what is happening in the Body with 0% fault so the present Body of Christ can be effectively healed. The current church is so divided, so diverse, so hurt, so polar on so many issues and beliefs that they have majored in blaming each other faction within the Body for the Body’s faults. A true apostle will not be a fault finder playing the blame game, but will take his responsibility head on to bring unity, Christ likeness, and maturity to the Body of Christ, to set it in order for the good of the Church.
... a man who allows the other four in the five fold interdisciplinary team members to minister to him as well as to them through him. He allows others to serve him, yet he always serves them. He has to lay down his pride by allowing others to minister to his needs and weaknesses. It is a give and take relationship. The apostle is such a giver, but he must also learn how to receive so those who are ministering to him can be free to minister in their talents to him that are so different from his. By allowing others to minister to him, he is allowing and equipping others to do the work of the service of following Christ, the purpose of Ephesians 4.
... a man who will submit rather than control. He will be able to submit to the different passions, desires, and perspectives of the other four team members, for that must be his strength. There are others far more gifted and anointed in evangelism, pastoring, teaching, and prophesying than he. He needs to glean from them, not control them! He must continually set them free, not put them in bondage. When the five fold team meets, he will not lead them into a business meeting, but into worship, praise, and prayer, seeking and leading them into the presence of God to seek His face, to listen to His voice, and to obtain His heart in order to get the answers and/or direction that the team seeks and needs. He wants everyone present to experience God’s love, revealing the heart of the Father together in unity, in Christ likeness, in maturity. That is true leadership! One of the other offices may rise in his passions or desires by taking leadership because he has the anointing, talents, and point of view that is best suited for the ministry needed at that specific moment. It is an awesome task to lead, yet not be in control, allowing the Spirit to be in control and lead rather than one’s self, to remain a vessel for service rather than dictating. It is an awesome task to lay down one’s own pride and ego to allow others who are driven in different passions and points of view than your own to rise to the need of ministry. It is an awesome task to serve rather than be served. It is an awesome task to remain broken before God, and even more... before those you serve and work with you.
* From Revealing and Releasing Jesus manuscript by Anthony Bachman page 104-105