The instruction I received from the Lord was to raise up a church on a global scale. I was told it would not look like most
churches, and indeed, it does not. The sheer size of the “congregation of saints” coupled with the fact that it is scattered
around the world makes it hard to visualize it as a church, especially coming from the traditional perspective that views a local
church sitting on the corner in some town somewhere. God is doing a new thing.
Like most “new things” that have been introduced into the Body of Christ, this is not new at all, actually. In fact, it is the way
the Church was originally designed by Jesus, who is the Head of the Church, and how it was implemented by His apostles. So,
for those of us who tend to be a bit skittish about anything “new,” we can relax and rest in the fact that God is at work here.
He is doing His thing and if we care to, we can analyze it completely from Scripture. I personally take comfort in that truth.
A study of the Church of Jesus Christ reveals there to be many denominations, and certainly no two are exactly alike in their
history, birth, composition, traditions, government, or mission. Therefore, we make some broad assumptions when studying
them for the sake of this study. However, denominations usually do have some common factors and these are the things that
make them different than an apostolic church.
The history of the Church, sadly, is a study in strife, divisions, and re-groupings. The Protestants break-off from the Catholic
Church and the splinters that fall off of that new shoot seem never-ending. The Church of England removes itself from the
Catholic Church and then other off-shoots spring up under various names. Holiness groups charge the Methodist Church
with secularism and each break off to form its own thing. Pentecostal churches take their Holy Ghost leanings and form new
churches and groups by the dozens. Divisions over musical instruments, modes of baptism, days of worship, versions of the
Bible, and even clothing bring about an unending birthing of new denominations, each considering themselves to be the end-
of-it-all. Baptists proliferate new churches over the smallest concerns. There is no group that I am aware of that is pure –
wholly pure. The truth is this, if a church, group, or denomination were formed out of rebellion or division it is tainted, and the
blessings of God cannot be fully upon it even though its people are loved by God and precious to Him.
UNDERSTANDING AN APOSTOLIC SPHERE
Someone might look at Covenant Global Church and because we are large, they think that we are just another denomination.
So what is the difference between a traditional denomination and Covenant Global Church? To answer this question we must
understand what CGC is. CGC is an apostolic church composed of many apostolic spheres. (II Corinthians 10:13-18) This
scriptural passage describes some of the attributes of an apostolic sphere. Let’s look at them:
1) God is the One who establishes an apostolic sphere, not men.
2) An apostolic sphere has boundaries.
3) An apostolic sphere is led by an apostle who is appointed by God.
4) An apostle is given spiritual authority from God to govern within the apostolic sphere.
5) There are many apostolic spheres on the earth.
6) An apostolic sphere is a living organism capable of growth; faith is the catalyst of that growth.
7) All glory goes to Jesus Christ for all that happens within an apostolic sphere.
CONTRAST AN APOSTOLIC SPHERE AND A DENOMINATION
By contrast, an apostolic church is not the product of someone launching a new work because of dissatisfaction with some
other church or group. An apostolic church is birthed by Jesus. It is set in place by His mighty hand and exists within the
framework of His divine will. The seeds of rebellion are not planted by its originator(s); therefore, the likelihood of the
blessings of God is far greater for it than in an environment set in motion by the will of man. Of course, just as the ministry of
Paul proves, even when God does birth something there is still persecution and fallible people who hinder it. An apostolic
sphere is only as perfect as the people within it.
An apostolic church is a simple thing. This is one of the main differences I see between this and a denomination. Most
denominations are a maze of bureaucracy that is complicated and burdensome. In an apostolic sphere the man of God hears
from God on a matter and it is done. It is really that simple. Most often several people are involved in carrying out the matter,
each relying upon the leadership of the Spirit to guide them as they do their part. An apostolic sphere recognizes that every
believer is anointed by God to operate within their own anointing and each is encouraged to act accordingly. This mutual
respect and submission is one of the things that makes an apostolic sphere so powerful.
There are spiritual boundaries to every ministry. I learned this lesson as a pastor. A lady called my office asking for personal
counseling. Her pastor I was told did not counsel. (I find that interesting!) I agreed to counsel her and did so. She walked out
of my office after the first session, and that is when the Spirit of God checked me in my spirit and I knew I had done something
displeasing to Him. As I prayed seeking what was wrong, my error became evident to me quickly. I had handled the sheep of
another shepherd. He was called of God to care for her, not me. I had essentially jumped over the fence into another man’s
pasture. I failed to understand that my ministry had boundaries and that my only authority was within the limits to my church.
An apostolic sphere is no different; it is just on a larger scale. The incident in Acts 16 reveals how this works. Paul tried to
spread the gospel into regions in which God had not called him to minister in at that time. Thankfully, he heard the voice of
the Spirit and obeyed Him. His work remained within the limits to his divine calling because of it.
Expansion seems to be one of the primary emphases in most denominations. They thrive on planting churches and seeing
their labels in new regions of the world. On the surface, it would seem that expansion is a good thing, and indeed it is when it
is led by the Holy Spirit. Expansion for the sake of expansion is not God’s way of thinking. He allocates to His chosen ones
certain individuals, churches, ministries, regions, or people groups to increase the measure of his sphere. These apostles
are not given the right to plant churches and ministries or recruit new members whenever and wherever they choose. To do
so defies the biblical concept that boundaries exist and they are set in place by God. I pray that each pastor and apostle hears
the truth of this instruction.
Paul was excited about growth happening within his sphere. But his excitement was not based on increasing in the numbers
of churches, attendance in the churches, or any other natural criteria, it was based on faith. He told the Corinthians that as
they personally increased in faith his sphere would be enlarged because of them. That makes sense. When faith elevates,
saints move forward and upward. They begin to demonstrate the love and power of Jesus Christ to all who are around them.
This draws unbelievers to them so they might be saved and it helps to heal brokenness in believers which in turns causes
growth in them. This is the way growth happens in the Kingdom of God. It is how apostolic spheres increase in size as well.
God establishes all authority, for indeed all authority flows from Him. His appointed apostles are called to lead one of His
spiritual regions within His Kingdom. (do not confuse the concept of a spiritual region with a geographic area) Jesus equips
the one He appoints by the Holy Spirit with a special and unique anointing to govern that spiritual region. This is the authority
Paul talks about in the II Corinthians 10 passage. God does not lead His church by committee action. He calls a man to handle a
certain task and supernaturally empowers him to fulfill the work to which he is called. Ephesians 4:11 reveals the full
leadership of God’s Church through five distinct ministry offices; we are in this study dealing only with the office of apostle.
Each of the others is a viable and important part to the leadership team within the apostolic sphere.
No apostle should think of himself too highly. An apostle is not a super-Christian nor is he more anointed or more special to
God than everyone else in the Body. He simply carries a different anointing from God, and because he is a leader within a
large spiritual region people tend to make more of him than is right. Perhaps apostles need to regularly remind themselves
that their sphere is the only place in which their apostolic anointing is fully appreciated. That is why Paul would have made a
tragic mistake had he gone into Asia. He would have missed the plan God had for him to minister in Macedonia.
I do not believe that any one apostle is called to lead an apostolic sphere that encompasses the entire world, or a continent,
or even a nation. I know of no apostolic sphere with nearly that large of a scope of authority. He may be called to minister in
only a certain nation or on a certain continent, or whatever, but his specific apostolic authority does not cover that entire
area. Take Paul for example, his sphere included various churches/pastors in certain cities and certain ministers who
operated as evangelists or prophets or teachers, but he did not assume anything outside of what God had specifically given
him. It must be that way with each of us who pastor or are apostles.
IT TAKES A TEAM
We also see in Scripture how the Body of Christ works and that it is a joining together of many parts. Look when Paul
commands young Titus to handle some rather delicate and important apostolic duties on the island of Crete on his behalf.
(Titus 1:5) This shows us that the apostle does not need to handle all matters personally within his sphere. This helps us
understand that the Church is really a body with many body parts and each has a special function.
DIVINE PURPOSE AND COMMISSION
The apostolic sphere is God’s way of doing Church. That is why Covenant Global Church (and many others I am aware of) has
been raised up and sent into the world. Many in the Body of Christ do not understand the apostolic sphere because it does
not conform to the way things have been done over the past several hundred years, and some will even oppose it. This is
important to know so you will not be disappointed if you face resistance from well-meaning Christians whose eyes are not
opened to this revelation. I encourage you to do what is right even when it is not the popular thing to do, and that most
definitely includes the acceptance of Jesus’ original design for His Church and how He wants us to operate within it and how
we are to oversee it.
The apostolic church is a dynamic, beautiful, yet simple organism that is the basic building block of the earthly Church of
Jesus Christ. May she forever be strong and pure and may she always bring glory to Jesus our Lord. Amen.
|God Is Doing A New (old) Thing