FROM CBN.com . CBN is the Christian Broadcasting Network television program:
John Eckhardt recently spoke to Gordon Robertson about the shift from pastoral to apostolic ministry and its effects on local churches. There are changes in leadership that he believes will directly affect the body of Christ. As he travels around the world, John has discovered that many leaders are transitioning from a pastoral calling into an apostolic calling. That is, many pastors are realizing that they desire a ministry that encompasses more than one church. It is important that the church body make this shift in order for the church as a whole to move to the next level of power, grace and anointing.
"In the past," John says, "if leaders or pastors left their church for any period of time, their churches would fall apart. In order to move into this new position (of ministry), we are challenging some of the traditional ways we have been taught." That concept includes a church having only one pastor. "There is a need," says John, "for many pastors to help shedherd the flock as churches grow and disciples multiply."
In the book of Acts, churches were planted by the pioneering spirits of apostles and apostolic teams, not pastors. Pastors are not mentioned among the three governmental offices of the church in 1 Cor. 12:28 (apostles, prophets and teachers). God is challenging the church to come in line with His purpose. The cell group movement is a good illustration of this point. There is a need for cell groups, an idea which was birthed out of the need for believers to receive and be a part of a ministry in a small group context. These leaders are called "cell group leaders" but in reality they are doing the work of a pastor. It is possible for a church to release hundreds and thousands of "pastors" in this way. God does not limit the shepherding of a flock to one person or a staff of a few.
An Apostolic church is also a sending church; the local church releases the senior pastor to facilitate the apostolic ministry. By doing so, the people learn to draw from the governing gifts of the apostles, prophets and teachers and not depend on the senior pastor for everything. "The local church becomes more missions oriented and expands at the people take on the characteristics of their leaders," says John.
Another element in the book of Acts church was the prophetic ministry. Many churches today have been robbed of this vital part of ministry. Prophecy is a building gift and means to edify. When we build people, we build the church. Prophetic utterances activate and release the plans and purposes of God. The prophetic, John says, also releases the apostolic. Crusaders Church of Chicago was blessed by the ministry of another prophetic ministry, Bishop Bill Hamon of Christian International in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida. Through his ministry, Crusaders Church was restored and began sending many of their leaders to conferences to be trained and activated in the prophetic ministry. Now, they have hundreds of people in the church that prophesy and have ordained prophets and prophetic teams that travel to the nations. "By prophesying over people," John says, "apostles can be identified". John received his apostolic calling through prophecy in 1989. At the time, he knew nothing about the ministry of the apostle. He had to pursue the ministry by faith.
Here is more of the conversation between Gordon Robertson and John Eckhardt:
Gordon Robertson: Our next guest says there's a new shift taking place in the body of Christ and one that could have profound effect on the church's efforts to fulfill the Great Commission. Here to share more with us from his new book called "Leadershift," please welcome Pastor John Eckhardt.
John Eckhardt: Thank you. It's good to be here.
Gordon Robertson: Tell me about this. What do you mean about leadershift? What is that?
John Eckhardt: Well, we titled the book "Leadershift" because we felt that there's a shift taking place among many pastors. As we travel around the world, we're seeing many pastors beginning to embrace more of an apostolic calling in their ministries, and many of them sense a shifting, but they don't exactly know how to make the shift. So we're really seeing the ministry help leaders to identify their gifts and, also, to make that important shift.
In the days of the apostles in the Ne Testament, house churches were prevalent. I think is good to continue on with this practice, especially having it in communities where people don't go to church per se'. We must take the church to the world. God is concerned about the churchless people, and they aren't all coming to the church building. And a church doesn't have to be structured traditionally like a cathedral or church per se' for it to be a church. Some of the greatest revivals and moves of God started in homes and contiue to this day. And many souls have been brought to the Lord via house churches. The place to preach, teach or share the gospel is not limited to a structured traditional church. But we are commissioned to "go to all nations" and in "the high ways and hedges and compell them" to come into the kingdom of God. For many non-American cultures, house churches are the only church that they have. The church that I attend has about 6,000 memebers, and thank God my Pastor is smart enough to follow the word like Moses got, that the work was too great for him to do it alone, and for Mose to seek out 70 men to help oversee the people.This pattern that my church follows has given the ministry great results in bringing souls to the Lord, and meeting personal needs and addressing personal issues that won't get done at a Sunday service or a bible study from a preplanned bible stuydy book or Sunday school book.. The church has to expand it's borders beyond the four walls and accommodate the lost, hurting and hungry souls, and take the church to the highway and hedges. Thank you.
Jesus established what is known by man, the five-fold ministry according to Ephesians 4:11. Yes the word states that "Christ gave gifts unto men when He ascended" - Ephesians 4:8; "Apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers" - Ephesians 4:11; "for the the equipping of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ" as stated in Ephesians 4:12; "UNTIL we all come into the unity of the body of faith and the knowledge of the Son of God to a perfect man, in the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ" - Ephesians 4:13. Well the church, the body of Christ has yet to fulfill Ephesians 4:12, so until then, the established gifts, offices, ministries, etc. still remain in effect until the Lord Jesus says otherwise.
No rebuttal here Rev. Watson. I hold fast to what I believe is true and allow people to hold fast to what they think is true. It's a waste of time going back and forth debating the word of God and any thing else especially if people are stedfast in what they believe. Only the Holy Spirit can change the hearts of men, enlighten them to His word and give them Divine wisdom and revelation. And so if people are open to the Spirit of the living God, the Spirit Himself when bring them itno the greater or accurate truth and revelation.
It's alway better to get revelation from the Spirit of truth Himself, and not man's finite knowledge, wisdom or intellect.You be blessed as well.
You too as well.