The Apostolic Family
By Apostle Ronald Jordan
One of the most rewarding things in life, is to see a well run family business prosper - especially if that business has been in the hands of the same family for generations and been lovingly cared for and improved.
Unfortunately, the idea of the family business is kind of dying out these days. You have so many people today out to just make a quick buck or take their company public that there aren't a lot of people thinking long term anymore.
On one hand I understand. It does take a certain degree of sacrifice to run a family business. You have to wear "multiple hats" so to speak. You can't just be a Dad to your son or a sister to your brother during work hours.
Now in the same way as a well run family business can be a blessing from generation to generation, an inheritance to be cherished, this is how it should be with your ministry! You should be leaving behind a spiritual inheritance that we will have repercussions for generations to come.
Seeing the Bigger Picture
When I first got the call of God on my life, all I could think of was how it affected me. My head was filled with questions of...
"How do I flow in the gifts of the spirit?"
"What phase of training am I in right now?"
"Where can I find decent training on XYZ ministry?"
The Lord was gracious and He led me to AMI many years ago. I began to learn more about the call that God had given me, first as a prophet and then as an apostle. It has been an amazing journey to learn all these things and grow.
However, for a long time in my mind it was still all about me and my calling. That all changed when we opened up the doors to the first AMI Ministry Center in San Diego. Slowly I began to realize that my calling and mandate wasn't even about me.
Just like Moses was only called once the children of Israel had called out to God, it was because of the cry of believers in the Church today that He calls any of us!
God began to show me through Apostles Craig and Colette Toach that actually He hadn't just called me to do the work of the ministry, but to be a part of something that would leave behind a heritage for future generations to come. That God was not just thinking about today, but the future. I don't know who said God is the best chess player, but it's true!
However, it so easy to loose track of this perspective. If you are in full-time ministry, then you will know exactly what I am talking about. Sometimes it is so easy to get into this mode of dealing with the needs that are right in front of you.
As the Lord starts to bless your ministry and more people start to come in, soon all you are doing is just handling the needs that people are coming to you with. You minister, you pour out and by His Grace, He anoints you and uses you and the people's needs are met for today. Then it starts all over again tomorrow. You get to kind of understand why Jesus had to spend all night in prayer for recharge.
However, in all of this "busyness", sometimes you forget that your call is not just to minister to God's people, but if you are an apostle, to lay a foundation for the Church - to like Apostle Colette preached in a recent message, build the temple and pour forth those rivers of living water over all the land!
I suppose I should have known this truth already. I remember when I first left school, I was so fervently convinced that Jesus was coming soon! Why should I bother to go to college, get a degree, get married - let's just go off into the mission field and win the lost because there is no time!
Well, while it's true that no man knows the time and date of our Savior's glorious appearing and we should live like He's coming back tomorrow, it is also true that we should live like He's coming back tomorrow and also like He's never coming back.
Build to Last
I mean what if the Lord doesn't return for another 50 years? Another 100 years? Another 1000 years? Is the pattern that you are laying going to stand the test of time?
Here is the big idea. God is birthing spiritual families all across the Body of Christ Universal at this moment. We get this idea that all of the division and denominationalism we see in the Church is bad. Well, it can be if done in the spirit of the world, but the Lord knew that we as people naturally gravitate towards those we feel more comfortable with.
Some people have a greater passion for the lost. Some people want to help widows and orphans. Some want to study the Word more. There are a million different things and that is okay. It' okay because we are one body and you know there is more than just the hand in a body.
I love Apostle Colette's image of the Fivefold Ministry being like a hand. It is indeed a powerful part of the Body, but there is way more than just those who are called to lead the Church. Just do a study sometimes on the Body Ministries and you will see a whole new view of what God is doing in the Church.
Be on the Cutting Edge of the Fivefold Era! God is revealing the FULLNESS of the Fivefold Ministry today. Preached in an intimate setting at the AMI Headquarters, Apostle Colette preaches the revelation of the Fivefold and how God will use each office to lead the church into a glorious era.
The Lord is gathering His Church up and forming them into body members so that they can fulfill their function. You see we do indeed have a corporate function as the Body of Christ, to fulfill the Great Commission - to disciple the nations is indeed our mandate as a Body.
However, how can we do that, if the Body of Christ is asleep and some of the armor is missing? How can we do it if the heart isn't pumping the blood and the eyes are not open to see and the feet don't move in sync with each other?
In the Old Testament, the perfect picture of this concept is the wall built by Nehemiah and the people. There have been so many studies done on Nehemiah, so I'm not going to go over that, but basically, each family, each clan, was tasked with accomplishing a certain section of the wall.
Building According to Clan
This is key. They didn't all just work on the same portion of the wall at one time. No, each portion of wall to build was allotted to each family, and then they took responsibility for building their section of the wall.
It was for their particular family to take pride, yes godly pride, in the fact that what they were doing what was important. Sure, maybe this wall was a bit different, but it didn't matter, because their responsibility was for their section of the wall.
They couldn't complain that whole wall was a mess if they didn't tend to their own section. I can imagine the sense of pride that a family must have had when the wall was finished. Maybe they even got to put their family crest their, who knows?
The point is though that they did it together by families and clans. You barely need to open the Old Testament to see how big a deal this was to God. Take the following verse for example.
- Numbers 2:2 Every man of the children of Israel will pitch by his own standard, with the ensign of their father's house: far off about the tabernacle of the congregation will they pitch.
Did you catch where it said ensign? That is another word for shield, crest or as we call it, a distinguishing mark. Every group had its own distinguish mark and it didn't matter where you were in the camp, you could just look up and see where you belonged.
Now is it so far fetched to believe that this is what God is doing in this day and age? How many people have come across your ministry and said, "Wow, I've been looking for a place like this for ages. It is like you knew my life story, you just seem to have everything I have been living."
Well, that should be happening in your ministry - it is in AMI and that's because as it says in Psalms 68:6 God sets the solitary in families: he brings out those who are bound with chains: but the rebellious dwell in a dry [land].
The Lord is the one who creates the spiritual families. I just look at my spiritual parents in the Lord, Apostles Craig and Colette Toach, and my spiritual siblings and I know that God has brought us together. We come from so many diverse races, nationalities, languages that there was nothing we had in common except Jesus and He was more than enough!
The main point of this article is that I want you to see what God is doing in the earth right now. You have probabbly been looking for the next big thing that God is doing in the Church. Well, my friend let me tell you this is it - Spiritual Parenting and Spiritual Families have always been a part of God's Order.
When you look at the family business today, part of the reason they are dying out is because there is a price to pay to have this blessing. You have to deal with family issues and family issues always are emotional and involve stress and conflict. It demands a fair degree of "give and take" and letting go of your way. The bottom line is that it is just more effort.
It is easier to just go off and start your own business or ministry, where you can be the one in charge and say how you want things done. I can't tell you how many people I've seen that think that this is God's order for their ministry. I'm sorry to tell you but it's not. Being on your own is never God's best for you.
Teamwork - God's Way but Costly Price
To give of yourself, to submit your self to another in love, to work together as a team is the highest form of maturity that you can get, but it also costs the most. What kind of prices am i referring to?
Well, for starters perhaps the greatest of all - personal space.
You see when you come to ministry, there are no more rooms in your house that you keep hidden just to yourself. There is no more "personal sin" because everything you do affects the other person.
It's bad enough as a team member, but if you are the leader, then guess what, what is in you is going to be in those who are under you. So the first price you will pay to enter into this wonderful blessing is your personal space and your personal life.
Isn't it amazing how people will give you lots of money to get a hotel rather than stay in their home? I don't know if that is just something here in the States, but it seems that your personal space is something that is sacred.
If you want to hold on to that special space and not let any get so close that they can see that you are actually a real person and not just a saint who preaches from the pulpit, then it means you have to let someone into your home.
It is surpassing how many people we've counseled on their ministry training are so quick to go and find someone to "team up with" - to have a prayer warrior backing them from afar, or to have someone else on board as a partner.
Quick Question: Would you live with this person in the same house?
If the answer isn't yes, then you don't have the beginnings of the team that is going to make your ministry into that family business that will go from generation to generation. You can only train your team and give them all that God has given you, if they are close enough to let them in your heart.
So then, let's take it from the other side, what if you are a team member, looking up to someone as a spiritual parent? How well do you really know your leader? While you can pick up their spirit from afar and go through mentorship and parenting without living with them, let me tell you it is a whole lot quicker to do it this way.
This is why in AMI our pattern has always been to establish Ministry Centers - a place where the Fivefold Ministry can reside and where ministry and business can take place side by side. Just like Paul who hired out the School of Tyrannus and did business in the day and taught by night, if you don't have a central home base that your team can be based out of, you are missing out.
Isn't it curious that whenever you read of how the disciples lived, it said that they all lived together? On the Day of Pentecost it said that the Holy Spirit filled the house where they were staying.
I always had the idea that they were all having a prayer time and the Holy Spirit came, but actually it says it was early and only some of them were even probably fully awake.
They were all living together in one big house. Jesus had left 40 days ago and in that time they had devoted themselves to prayer and fasting and seeking God until the Comforter came. By the time the Holy Spirit did come they were in perfect unity and that unity birthed the foundation that the early Church was founded on.
Unity is the Key
If you look in Acts, you see a picture of a church that was alive and on fire; you see a church that didn't lack anything that was willing to spend their last to make sure that their brother didn't go without.
This generosity, this selfless love set the standard for what we today see as the ideal for Christian living. There have been so many words about God restoring the Church, but actually that's not good enough.
It isn't enough that we simply go back to what the Church had, no God wants to send His latter rain and make His Church glorious! He is coming for a Bride without spot and wrinkle, a Bride who knows her Groom and is ready to do everything He needs her to do.
Are you ready for this servant of God? Are you ready to take the load of the Church upon your shoulders? Are you ready to let people into your intimate spaces and show them Jesus even in your weakness? Are you ready to birth a spiritual family, bear long with them and give your all to see them rise up? Because that is what God is doing in the earth at this moment.
If this vision for spiritual families burns in you then I encourage you to quickly find your place! If you are a Moses or David who is called to start your own ministry, then God bless you. If you, like me, is mentored by an apostle and called to be a part of an apostolic team, then grab hold of your Moses or David.
For the time is precious, and God is doing great things in this hour. I encourage you to open your eyes in the spirit and see what God is doing all around you.
In AMI, this is burning strongly in us at the moment, and this is what we are putting our hand to the plow to do. I invite you to find your land, work your land and make it the best piece of land you can, so that those who come behind you have an example to follow and exceed!