Apostle and Prophet Ministry

I've been away for a few days at Staff Conference, which is one of the few times in the year when the ministers of the Apostolic Church get together from all across the UK. It's good fun to meet up with friends and colleagues from other parts of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland (and usually to meet some new people too), and it's encouraging to hear what God is doing in assemblies up and down the country. And, on top of that, it's also good to come together to worship, pray and hear from God together.

Coming back from Staff Conference I've been thinking a bit about Apostle and Prophet ministry. In the Apostolic Church we've always seen something particularly special about the apostle and prophet ministering together.
'The Apostle and prophet are always to be considered as complementary and interdependent offices in the Body. God in divine ordination has always linked them together in the government of the Church.' (The Apostolic Church: Its Principles & Practices, 1937 edition, p. 229).
Very often an assembly has a special meeting for 'Apostle and Prophet Ministry', and quite typically that involves prophetical ministry through the prophet, which is then expounded by the apostle before he preaches.

But, coming home from Staff Conference I was thinking about this, because it seems to have gotten into our mindset a bit that that's what apostle and prophet ministry is: prophecy, exposition, sermon. (Probably because we had a tendency to call those meetings 'apostle and prophet ministry'.) Yet, at Staff Conference there was a lot of apostle and prophet ministry going on, but not in that same format, and not in a special meeting. Which is what got me thinking.

If our idea of Apostle and Prophet ministry is confined to a special meeting of prophecy, exposition, sermon, then there's a danger of missing out on the many other ways that God can work through the joint ministries of the apostle and prophet. Yes, the apostles are going to handle prophecies, but when the apostle and prophet are moving together in the power of the Holy Spirit, that's not the only way God works through them.

As the apostle and prophet move in the anointing of the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit can work through them in complementary gifts, like when the apostle is used in the gift of tongues and then the prophet interprets the tongue. And, rather than prophecy through the prophet leading to exposition by the apostle, God can work through prophetic revelation to spark apostolic revelation. Or there are other times when God guides apostle and prophet independently of each other to the same place for the same purpose, like when the apostle and prophet both suddenly arrive at the same time from different places to pray for someone. Apostle and Prophet ministry doesn't necessarily mean a special meeting on the plan. It's not an institution. Rather, it's a dynamic ministry as Christ the Head of the Church expresses His Headship in an abundance of ways through His apostles and prophets.

We shouldn't only expect powerful apostle and prophet ministry in special meetings. To do so would be to put limitations on the Head of the Church. Rather we should pray to see such ministry at all sorts of times in all sorts of ways, in variety and abundance.