CBN telivision interview with Gordon Robertson & John Ekhardt continued:
Gordon Robertson: It seems like this is sort of the next move. You had Bill Hammond, in particular, talking about the restoration of the prophetic. Is this the next stage for the church, and it's more of a restoration back to what we had in the first century?
John Eckhardt: Yes. Yes, I believe that the word restoration is the key word, and we saw the restoration of prophetic ministry in the '90s. And toward the end of the '90s, we began to see more of an emphasis on the subject of apostles and the restoration of apostolic ministry. And I feel that the restoration of the apostolic ministry is absolutely essential in order to fulfill the Great Commission, because the Great Commission is an apostolic commission. It was given to apostles, and we feel that it's going to take an apostolic spirit and dimension in order to really fulfill that commission.
Gordon Robertson: What exactly do you mean by apostle? I think many Christians are very familiar with pastors and teachers and evangelists, but apostle may be a scary word for them. What do you mean by it?
John Eckhardt: Well, the word apostle is a very simple word. It simply means `a sent one.' And as you study the Word of God, you find that there are five ministry gifts mentioned, and apostle is one of them. We've emphasized pastors, teachers, evangelists, but an apostle primarily is a pioneer, a reformer, often planting churches, doing more extensive work than just a local pastor. So we're seeing that even many local pastors have been doing apostolic ministry for years: planning churches, pioneering, mentoring, fathering. And yet they've identified themselves as a pastor because that's, really, all they knew. But now they're beginning to find out that their true calling is really to that of an apostle.
Gordon Robertson: Many people say that we had 12 apostles and they give Paul credit and say, OK, he's another one. But that has pretty much died out in the first century. We did a piece on St. Patrick. Do you consider him an apostle to Ireland?
John Eckhardt: Yes, that's definitely apostolic: planting churches, baptizing as many believers as he did, pioneering into a new territory. He was definitely an apostle, and he had an apostolic anointing. There's no way he could have done what he did with just a pastoral or a teaching anointing. He had to have something greater in order to penetrate that level of darkness and bring Christianity into that nation.
Gordon Robertson: What would you advise pastors who think they may have a calling broader than what they're currently doing, that God wants to move them into a greater role? How would you count them on how to do the shift?
John Eckhardt: I think the best thing to do is to follow your heart. If God is leading you to do a greater ministry, then follow it. Often we're comfortable in our present calling, but we know in our heart that God is leading us to something greater, but we're afraid to make that move. Simply follow your heart. Also, seek out others who are doing what you feel led to do. Begin to associate with them, fellowship with them, and then as you do, you'll get an impartation and even a greater faith to move out into a greater ministry. So the key is to follow your heart. Don't be afraid to do what God has told you to do and to obey the spirit of God.
Gordon Robertson: That's easier said than done.
John Eckhardt: It is. It is.
Gordon Robertson: I know many people struggle with that, and it's sort of like, `God has told me to do something,' and then you say, Well, why aren't you trusting God?' What do you think are the obstacles here?
John Eckhardt: Well, fear, tradition, unbelief. I believe another key is prophetic ministry. Many times, through prophetic ministry, we get confirmation, we get more revelation concerning our callings. And I believe with the restoration of prophets in the prophetic ministry, along with apostles, that you'll find that prophets and prophetic ministry also encourages us to really move out into our calling. Sometimes we simply need confirmation and exhortation in order to really move out beyond the fear and tradition that would hold us back. So when all the gifts of God are operating in the church, it makes it a lot easier to do what God has called us to do.
Gordon Robertson: It does. If they're not operating, how do you get to that level where they are? How do you open yourself up for the possibilities of God?
John Eckhardt: Well, two things. You need to study and read books and also get around those who are already operating in that dimension. I believe that impartation is the quickest and most effective way to begin to move in new anointings. When you get around people who are already operating in a level of faith in a dimension of the spirit, as they minister to you, that same spirit and faith will be released in your heart. Attend conferences. Try to read as many books, inform yourself as much as possible. The more we understand these things, the easier it is to walk in them because our minds don't fight us as much when we understand exactly what we're doing and what we're called to do
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The ascencion gifts, Ephesian 4:11 of the Apostles, Prophets, Evangelist, Pastors and Teachers were given, established and set up by Chirst, for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,....Till we all come into the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Chirist. (vs13). Well we haven't got to that yet. To omit the apostles, prophets, etc., you would have to omit the evangelists, pastor and teachers. If Jesus said that He gave them to fulfill the commission of Ephesian 4:12-16, than so be it, I'm with Jesus program.