This post is part of a series on building an apostolic and prophetic foundation. Links to other posts in this series can be found at the end of this article.
Scripture is clear the church is built on an apostolic and prophetic foundation. But what exactly does this mean?
One option is that this scripture refers to the teachings contained within the Old and New Testaments. The prophets were the Old Covenant messengers of God, and the apostles are the New Covenant equivalent. So scripture is the foundation, with Christ as the cornerstone. The challenge is that the New Testament hadn’t been compiled when this verse was written by Paul in Ephesians, so the apostles teachings weren’t all easily accessible. So I’m not sure this is the primary meaning.
Elsewhere, I define apostles as those focused on the mission of God, specifically the Great Commission, whose job is to ensure the church knows it is sent, and is living out it’s ‘sentness’. I see prophets as those who communicate the heart and mind of God as the church is mobilising and moving forward in its mission. You can read more details of my understanding of the fivefold ministries here.
So, understanding the apostles create apostolic culture, and prophets create prophetic culture, what are the distinguishing marks of such cultures that are essential for churches to embrace in order to be healthy?
An apostolic and prophetic foundation is missional
An apostolic and prophetic culture that looks to influence community and society must be one that engages it without mimicking it. Personal character and standards are key in this to ensure that the witness and impact of people reflect the kingdom of light, instead of the kingdoms of this world or even the kingdom of darkness.
An apostolic and prophetic foundation raises up sons and daughters
An apostolic and prophetic culture, whilst visional and momentum-generating, has a focus on identity and sonship. This, by nature, has to lead to a culture of value that recognises who God has uniquely made individuals to be. This mindset must embrace process because to see people become who they are meant to be, we have to start with where they are.
An apostolic and prophetic culture values the revelation of identity, which helps people mature as sons and daughters of God. It should lead us to discern and recognise wounds so that we can embrace the ministry of inner healing to continue maturing.
An apostolic and prophetic foundation allows God experiences
An apostolic and prophetic culture is built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, which means it must have a prophetic culture that hears God-dreams for churches and individuals. This should release people into a place of hope, which leads to risk-taking and faith-steps of obedience, resulting in action that leads to momentum and prophetic breakthrough.
An apostolic and prophetic foundation equips and trains
An apostolic and prophetic culture is equipping and empowering because the role of the Apostle is to train up disciples so they can influence and impact community and society. Part of this equipping is helping people discover and move forward in the call of God on their lives, whether that call is already known or needs to be unveiled.
An apostolic and prophetic culture is by nature disciple-making. The Great Commission is an apostolic sending, and is, simply put, “make disciples of everyone everywhere.” Without discipleship, there is no apostolic and prophetic culture. Discipleship must be developmental and holistic, helping people grow in belief – which means faith – knowledge, skills, giftings, and experiences through opportunities.
An apostolic and prophetic culture is a movement because it creates an impact in the lives of those in it and around it. It has a momentum that sees disciples discipled – meaning, they change – and communities blessed – meaning, they are influenced and impacted by action. The strategic and the revelatory partner together in an apostolic and prophetic culture to create Spirit-inspired movement. Without it, there is no momentum and impact. Apostolic and prophetic cultures are intended to be rivers that flow, not lakes that stay.
This post is part of a series looking at building an apostolic and prophetic foundation. The posts are:
- Building An Apostolic and Prophetic Foundation
- Defining an Apostolic Church
- Defining a Prophetic Church
To learn more about how I help churches like yours build an apostolic and prophetic foundation, click here. You can also take one of my free church health assessments to learn how healthy your apostolic and prophetic foundations are.