Much of the spiritual action in the Bible comes from the work of apostolic-prophetic teams. I have found seven types of apostolic teams which may serve as models for us today.
- Band of Evangelists – Yeshua’s original group of twelve did not so much prophesy or start congregations. They shared the Gospel (and healed the sick). This was true of the group of apostles under Simeon Peter’s leadership as we find in Acts 1 – 12. Jews for Jesus gives us a picture of multiplying evangelistic teams.
- Band of Prophets – In ancient Israel prophets such as Samuel, Elijah and Elisha led bands of younger “student” prophets (I Samuel 10:5). The early team of apostles began by praying and prophesying together (Acts 1:14, 2:17). It is likely that a group of young visionaries attached themselves to John, who became his prophetic band. IHOP-KC has been a source for other prayer houses around the world.
- Mother Congregation – In Acts 13 there were teachers and prophets in the Antioch congregation. They sent out Paul (Shaul) and Barnabas. They became the support base for Paul’s team and others. The congregation in Jerusalem was the mother of all apostolic base congregations. Beth Yeshua (Philadelphia) and Tents of Mercy (Haifa) are examples of Messianic congregations which have multiplied into others.
- Training School – In Acts 19, we see Paul teaching every day at the school of Tiranus. The school was more than just a teaching center. The teaching format provided a base for spreading the message of the kingdom of God across the entire area of Asia Minor (Acts 19:10). Modern day Bible schools, such as YWAM, CFNI, Gateways, ICOB and MJBI are apostolic centers for extending the kingdom.
- Paul’s Staff – A group of people began to gather around Paul as a support team. Some of them were leaders in training, some assistant apostles to Paul, others were helpers, secretaries, organizers, etc. Titus became an apostle in Pauls’ place. Gaius copied Paul’s letters. They served as the staff of a congregational planting team. For twelve years, the Revive Israel team has operated according to this model.
- Five-fold Ministry – As Paul’s team grew from being primarily his staff to being leaders in their own right, there emerged the patter of an apostolic leadership team made up of 5 different kinds of callings. Ephesians 4:11 describes these as, “apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor and teacher.” We are delighted to see much of our staff at Revive Israel becoming Ephesians 4 level leaders in their own right.
- Senior Advisory Council – In Acts 15 several senior leaders, including Peter, Paul and Jacob, gathered together to forge strategy, set policy and settle disputes. There was not one “pope” but rather a group of leaders in mutual submission, dialogue, and prayer. We have this type of relationship in our senior advisory team at Tikkun International, with Dan Juster, Eitan Shishkoff, Paul Wilbur and David Rudolph.
May these biblical models help us bear more fruit as we seek to serve the Lord in this generation!