Years before the simplechurch.com site was ever conceived of, in those antediluvian days when House2House actually published a magazine, I wrote an article entitled, "Where In The World Is The Church." The drift of the article was that real church needs to be out in the world, in the community, where it actively, daily, naturally impacts the lives of those who do not yet know Jesus. In that article I remember saying that we probably wouldn't even recognize most apostles today because they are doing entrepreneurial work, helping to create the Kingdom of God (I.e. the rule of Jesus) where it is most needed, in the existing "kingdoms of this world."
Paul teaches us in Ephesians 2 that the church is built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets. What does this mean?
On Friday afternoon, Felicity and I had over to our home a couple who are laying down their lives for the youth of the West Side of San Antonio. Theirs is the second poorest precinct in the country. The average income is around $5700 per year. Prostitution and drugs and gangs are the normal facts of life. And in the middle of this, this couple, along with their own three grown up children and respective wive's and kids, accompanied by another dozen or so passionate young people, are touching hundreds of kids and in the process fulfilling the Biblical mandate to be a "father to the fatherless." This is apostolic work. And that is why they came to see us. They wanted to understand more about church planting in in the harvest. What do house church movements look like when the leadership material all around you has mainly been developed through gangs and ghettos rather than through schools and seminarys!
On Friday morning I had a couple of hours with a friend of mine, the senior partner in a large local pediatric practice, who wanted me to take some time with a young missionary couple working in SE Asia. Of course the English word "missionary" is just a transliteration from Latin for a "sent one." The same word in the Greek would be an "apostle." But in talking with the physician and the missionaries it struck me yet again that the real Biblical apostle was more likely to be found in the physician who is re-shaping the practice of medicine for thousands of poor children all over Central Texas than in the well meaning efforts of the young missionary couple. After all, even Jesus told us "that the sick need a physician." I know in my old medical practice I saw hundreds of my patients come to Christ and we saw expressions of church life flow into most of the streets in our immediate neighborhood. This same pediatrician is helping to facilitate mission (apostolic work) on the Internet and across India and Africa. Isn't this "apostolic?"
Within the previous few days I have met with a former youth minister, who is now working as a financial management consultant and creating the relationships that are leading to early house churches. I met up (at an awards banquet for local businesses being honored as the best places to work at in Central Texas) with a former Professor of Missions from a well-known Baptist seminary, who is now working as a chaplain to a large local chain of restaurantz, and in the process is seeing church at work even while pioneering churches around his home and mentoring other young church planters. Aren't these classic "apostles" at work.
And what a privilege to be able to know these wonderful folk and to have a small role in standing with them in their Biblical calling, where like Paul they are "called to be an apostle."