This is part 4 of a series of 4 articles covering the 5Fs that the apostle brings to the church. These Fs are words I have assigned to Biblical principles I see in Scripture. There are obviously not 5 Fs outlined in the Bible. These 5 Fs are foundation, father, family, fulness, and freedom. In this article, we talk about the last 3 Fs of family, fullness, and freedom the apostle brings to the church. Here are links to the previous articles.
3rd F – Family
The kingdom is moved forward by relationships. Family relationships are especially effective for the kingdom when redeemed.
It’s about Relationships – connections. The Ark that saved the world during the flood was run by a family of 8 not an organization. God is teaching us how to be a family because salvation will come through a family called the Body of Jesus.
Most Christians don’t have a spiritual family, they only come to a reunion once a week. They hang around people they don’t really know. For many people they don’t even know who the members are at the reunion. Matter of fact, they don’t even want to be at the reunion. Most reunions are superficial and everyone is making boasts to impress someone with some accomplishment.
Spiritual families are authentic. A spiritual family can be themselves because they know they are a part of the family. Jesus is this way too, he doesn’t want any spiritual orphans in his family.
This verse shows Paul’s desire to be with people.
God, whom I serve in my spirit in preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness how constantly I remember you in my prayers at all times; and I pray that now at last by God’s will the way may be opened for me to come to you. I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong—that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith. Romans 1:9-12
Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. Romans 12:4-5
Family vs Membership
We often pick out a church based on the best programs, location, worship style, etc. We pick from a list of benefits important to us. I propose there is a better way. It is about the concept of family and not joining an organization. That better way is to ask God which spiritual family do you belong to.
God puts us in the physical families He wants. We did not get a vote who our physical father and mother were. I propose it is the same way with spiritual families. God has a place – a church – for everyone. We need to find it based on his desires for our life.
Asking God where we are to attend church and who to enter into community with is a radical shift. I believe it is consistent with God’s kingdom. If the church He leads us to does not have the programs or benefits we are looking for, then maybe we are to help build them or realize that He has a more important reason for us to join.
Seeing a church group as a spiritual family radically changes the traditional ministry model. It fosters community. There are 3 stages of relationships in this order: 1st Convenience – 2nd Community – 3rd Covenant. When there is community among a group of people, it means there is commitment. When we are committed to each other in our weaknesses and strengths, it will bring about an atmosphere that the world will want to be a part of. A covenant relationship where we stick together through thick and thin.
4th F – Fullness
What do I mean by the word fullness? It means to be fully like Jesus. Maturity in modern English conveys some of the meaning of fullness.
It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, o prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Ephesians 4:11-14
I propose that the goal of church leaders is to mature the bride of Christ to be fully like Jesus. This is the ultimate purpose of the callings mentioned above by Jesus. We may build buildings, teams, programs, and other things, but they should support the goal of maturity or fullness. How easy to get our success metrics based on something not in this verse?
Jesus is coming back for his bride, the body of Christ. The bride will be a white, holy, and righteous bride. He will be proud of her! As apostles, the greatest way we can bless Jesus is to get his bride ready! This is the essence of the verses in Ephesians above. A bride who has full knowledge of her bridegroom she is marrying. Preparing his bride is the highest calling of the ministry. This is the mark of success. In our ministry, ask why am I building what I am building?
Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Revelation 21:7
Build systems to measure the maturity of people and move them forward in the fullness of Christ!
5th F – Freedom
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 2 Corinthians 3:17
An apostolic church needs freedom to keep trying new things because all of Heaven has not come to earth yet. When we keep doing the same things, we think we have arrived or at least what we have is enough. Until the vision of heaven given to the apostolic church is complete, change will be a constant.
Change is a given at an apostolic church. People rarely like change. It takes a unique set of people, you could call them pioneers, who will risk the known for the unknown. Apostolic churches tend to be smaller because of this.
Being a pioneer has its rewards. You get to go where no one has gone before! You get to see and experience things that very few people get to see and experience. You live a life of adventure that is never boring. As an apostolic leader, realize that a minority of people want this life. Ask God to bring to you those that have the same apostolic spirit you have. Whoever comes around you will be enough to do what God has given you a vision for. More people are not the answer to fulfill the vision. The answer is to get with the right people that you are called to connect with, and be in community with, which results in covenant.
Freedom produces creativity in all areas. We often associate creativity with arts and music. But God will bring creativity to business, government, education, etc. All parts of the world need creative solutions. Apostolic people who listen to Holy Spirit and will go outside the box to see creativity rise.
Freedom brings messes. Messes are a sign that new things are being attempted. Apostolic churches will have messes to clean up, but they will also see breakthroughs. They will change the form and function of things to get new results.
I hope this series of 4 articles have given you some insight into the gift of apostle and what apostolic churches bring to the church: 5 Fs – Foundation, Father, Family, Fullness, and Family. May what heaven has in mind for the church be reproduced in the earth through its head Jesus.