I believe that in God’s mind, building His Church or those people called out from among the nations, is the main priority of missions work needed today.
Jesus told us that He would build His church and the gates of hell would not prevail against it (Matt 16:18).
In order to do this, God has given gifts to redeemed men to prepare His people for “works of service.” These gifts of service or ministry can be found in the Bible in places like I Corinthians 12 and Ephesians 4. One of these gifts is the gift of the apostle, or “sent one.”
This gift is not to be confused with the original 12 Apostles, but has to do with function more than a title someone wears to sound impressive to others. The original 12 are a unique group with unique functions not to be repeated today such as laying the foundation of Scripture.
Even though the term “apostolic” has been co-opted by certain denominations, it does not mean that they have the corner on the use of the term or even the correct usage of it.
A modern day apostle is one who is sent by God with a mandate to break new ground spiritually and eventually plant churches by gathering, discipling, and equipping new believers. He is specially equipped to lay the foundation for those who have believed in the message of the Gospel that has been preached to them.
He appoints leadership over these groups and nurtures them as a spiritual father, providing direction, oversight, and correction when needed. He then generally moves on to raise up other groups, called “churches”, in similar fashion.
In this calling he is like the thumb of the hand that is able to touch all four of the other fingers or gifts when needed; pastor (taking care and protecting the “flock”), teacher (breaking down truth into easy to understand portions), evangelist (proclaiming the good news of Jesus everywhere), and prophet (speaking forth the rhema word of God).
The apostle’s main burden is to plant where Christ has not been named and many times this ministry is evidenced by signs, miracles, and wonders confirming the word preached.
In addition to the apostolic gifting, some in the Body of Christ may be called to operate in any of the other Spiritual giftings as a blessing to the Church both locally and cross culturally.
These ministries may include certain outreaches such as orphan ministry, mercy ministry, education, and various support ministries. They generally make up the large percentage of cross cultural ministries today.
However, I believe we need more apostles being raised up and sent from all corners of the church if the unreached masses will have a life giving church among them.
Pray for God to send more of these laborers into His harvest field today, especially here in Thailand. (Luke 10:2)