With the recent launch of some absolutely seminal books from men that I love and respect, and the imminent commencement of the final Together On A Mission conference, I am sure you can forgive me for this prolonged focus on the distinctives that mark the movement of churches I am thrilled to be a part of. I will be back to discussing things reformed more generally eventually I am sure!
At various points along the way in this blog I could have been accused of focussing for long periods on all kinds of subjects. It is that very focus like a dog with a bone that marks me out as a personality, so I suppose it is unlikely to change. Give me a few weeks, however, and no doubt I will find another topic to hone in on. But in the meantime, I urge you to fully consider, possibly for the first time, the model for church government that I embrace. It is funny how many different models there are. Yet, the one outlined in Ephesians 4 and elsewhere in the NT is often rejected out of hand. This week I begin a series that will demonstrate biblically why we feel it should be implemented today.
Dave Devenish’s fantastic book takes a chapter to outline theological arguments for the continuation of the role of the apostle today. The rest of his book mixes biblical examples with intensely practical insights he has learnt from being right at the heart of a growing apostolic movement for decades. So, if you are already convinced that apostles are for today, just go order the book right away by clicking on the graphic or if you live in the USA, visiting Amazon.com, you will NOT be disappointed. If, on the other hand, even if you are not convinced by the end of this series, the book will also have a number of more general leadership lessons you are very likely to still find helpful.
Today I will share some endorsements for the book, tomorrow I will begin to serialise his chapter arguing biblically for the continuation of apostles today.
My own endorsement begins the following list:
‘When Paul says there are not many fathers, I don’t believe he was making a complaint, but was describing a reality. There have never been many true fathers in the faith. But those rare gifts that God gives to the church to raise up, send out and care for other leaders are vital. It is crucial that we learn how to recognize them and receive their input. This book will therefore be of great benefit to church leaders who know they need some kind of help from outside their local church, to apostolic teams, and to anyone who wants to understand a different way for churches to relate together.
‘David Devenish skilfully portrays an alternative to both rigid denominational structures and rugged individualism. Learn from the wisdom of a key leader within Newfrontiers who has dared to believe that the New Testament model of how to plant and lead churches can and should be followed today. Full of practical wisdom this book could leave you hungry for true apostolic Christianity and dissatisfied with modern pale imitations.’
Adrian Warnock, author of Raised with Christ
‘David’s excellent book makes a unique contribution to our understanding of the role of the apostle in the New Testament church. Thoroughly biblical in its approach, it challenges the frequently held view that apostles functioned only in the first century and that their primary task was the writing of the New Testament Scriptures. Of the original Twelve, only three made any contribution to the New Testament, while Luke, who was never regarded as an apostle, wrote more of the New Testament than any other. . .
‘I pray that David’s book will arrest our thought and bring us back to the Scriptures while we continue to call upon God that he, the Lord of the Harvest, will thrust forth labourers into his harvest field which is ripe for harvest. Let us call upon him for more apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers for the equipping of the saints, for the bringing in of the harvest, for the glory of Jesus.’
Terry Virgo, founder of Newfrontiers
‘Of the 5-fold ministries listed in Ephesians 4 that Christ donates to his church today, “apostles” are the least understood and most controversial. This scintillating book is far and away the most practical, persuasive, and thorough work on NT apostleship I’ve ever read. David Devenish has rediscovered this all but forgotten ministry, once encrusted with obsolescence, debris, confusion and contempt, then re-cut and polished it so that every facet can be seen in its pristine beauty. The result is a rich array of biblical insight, extraordinary wisdom, accessible scholarship, and first-hand testimony from a veteran and bold missionary church-planter in many of the world’s toughest locations. He demolishes the myths, abuses and exaggerated claims often associated with this role, then presents irrefutable reasons why it must be restored and deployed again. Those who long for effective leaders, Gospel mission, and healthy churches everywhere, should grab this brilliant book.’
Greg Haslam, Senior Pastor, Westminster Chapel, London
‘I couldn’t put down Fathering Leaders, Motivating Mission. It is an incredible and solid book – it isn’t lightweight theologically, biblically, or practically. There is nothing I have read that comes close to it in explanation and application. So much of what is written on this today is anecdotal, fluff or not biblically based. David’s book will become a standard read for those exploring or curious about apostolic ministry. This book is a real gift to the church today.’
Bob Roberts Jr, Senior Pastor, Northwood Church, Dallas and founder of Glocalnet
‘There is so much confusion in the evangelical world about apostolic ministry, ranging from those who think it is over, to those who revel in appointing all and sundry as apostles. This book establishes a proper biblical understanding of this ministry that is vital in the Body of Christ today. I especially like the emphasis on laying the right apostolic foundations for new churches, which is so little understood by many who are engaged in church-planting. This is an excellent book, and a “must read” for those who are thinking seriously about planting new churches in today’s world!’
Steve Thomas, Leader, International Apostolic Team, Salt & Light Ministries
‘This book is dynamite. It lifts us out of our daily routine and challenges us to think at the highest levels about the role of the church and its leaders in our world today. Full of a rich understanding of scripture, David’s challenge packs a powerful punch, demanding that we think carefully and deeply about what we believe and how we work it out.’
David Stroud, Lead Elder, ChristChurch London and UK Team Leader Newfrontiers