The City Church
The cloud is moving from apostolic centers (individual ministries) to the city apostolic church being restored. In scripture, the focus was the city church, never denominations or individual ministries. The Lord spoke to the believers in cities such as Corinth, Antioch, Jerusalem, and the seven churches in the book of Revelation. He still speaks to the city church today, because He does not change. Jesus said that before His second coming the spirit and power of Elijah would come and restore all things (Matt 17:11). What is the "all things" that Jesus was talking about? At least part of the "all things" is the foundations of the apostolic church. In order to attain to the same level of the first century church and go beyond it, the apostolic foundations must be restored. Obviously what the church in America has been doing is not working. Even the current apostolic center model has its limitations.
The Lord's definition of the church or the body of Christ is the believers in the entire city or the entire Flathead Valley (for an example of where I live). A church is not one individual ministry as some seem to believe. An individual church is only "a part" of the body of Christ in a city. So when "a part" of the body thinks that they are the church they are in deception. Only when all the parts come together in the city or valley can we use the terms "the church" or "the body of Christ" or "a family". An individual ministry cannot be complete apart from the rest of the body in the city. If one part thinks they can "do it" without the rest of the body than they are in pride. If one individual congregation thinks that they can be a "family" without connecting to all the other family in the city or region then they are deceived.
Currently none of us are where we need to be, including myself. This is going to change shortly as The Lord is releasing His true apostolic reformation that will change the face of the church as we know it. The city church is going to be restored. The only way this will happen is under the Lord's appointed leadership that only He can raise up and put in place. "Now you (city church) are the body of Christ, and members individually. And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues" (I Corinthians 12:27, 28 NKJV). Only when God's government of apostles, prophets, and teachers are restored to their proper place will the apostolic city church be restored.
The church in Antioch sat under the ministry of apostles, prophets, and teachers on a continual basis (not just every once and a while at conferences) (Acts 13:1). Only when five-fold ministry (God's government) is operating in the city church, will people be brought to maturity (Eph 4:11-16). Ephesians 4:12 says that these five offices are for the "perfecting" of the saints for the work of service; it does not say "equipping." Equipping is a bad translation of the Greek word. The charismatic church is still holding conferences with catchy names and training schools. The charismatic church is "equipped out". Equipping is fine but the Bible says perfecting. The Lord is more interested in us reaching a level of maturity, than He is for us to know a 10 step model to heal the sick. The Lord's appointed leadership will balance this out in the church. I long for that day!
People who sit under one pastor or one individual ministry will never be brought to maturity. God never intended this, but this is exactly what the church in America has done. Pastors get burned out under this model and so do the people. One leader only has so much to give any group of people. Once that leader has given all he can give, the people stop growing and the congregation will become stale. Of course leaders put pressure on people to be "faithful" to "their" ministry so they can keep the people and the money in "their church". This is a spirit of control and it is disgusting. Under the apostolic model of Acts 13:1, believers sat under the ministry of at least four offices (apostle, prophet, pastor, teacher). The people had freedom and so did the leaders. The believers were not confined to an individual congregation or a certain meeting place. The leaders worked together and their concern was for the believers, not building their own individual ministry. The true apostolic puts others before itself.
Currently the church is bound up in a religious and political system. So is much of the charismatic church which runs their ministries like a business selling overpriced products and charging conference fees. We are still very far from our true apostolic foundations, but it is going to be restored. What is impossible with man is possible with God. The Lord can raise up His leadership and bring many individual congregations together to form a true city church. I believe He will do it. When He does, it will be great freedom for the believers and the leadership. We must yield to His will and lay down our own ambitions and desires. Jesus is glorious. He is King. And He will do the impossible. Let the restoration begin!
To view the full teaching on the apostolic city church, please click here.