The Synergistic Working of Apostles & Prophets
Apostles and Prophets have clearly been linked together in Scripture in the Epistles.
“And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers.” Ephesians 4:11 NASB
“And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues.” 1 Corinthians 12:28 NASB
“Having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone.” Ephesians 2:20 NASB
In all three of the texts listed above these two offices are linked.
It seems like through much of the New Testament we see a linking of Apostles and Prophets together.
The gift of Apostle along with the gift of the Prophet together make up the foundation that the church is built upon. (See Ephesians 2:20 above)
God’s true Apostles and Prophets are not in competition with each other. They were designed by Christ to complement each other. They are the only two of the five that are paired together in ministry.
“As I briefly wrote earlier, God himself revealed his mysterious plan to me. As you read what I have written, you will understand my insight into this plan regarding Christ. God did not reveal it to previous generations, but now by his Spirit he has revealed it to his holy apostles and prophets.” Ephesians 3:3-5 NLT
It is God’s pre-ordained will for Apostles and Prophets to work together.
Apostles and Prophets are like a team of two horses harnessed together and pulling one wagonload of anointed ministry.
Peter Wagner in his writings declares that he loves the analogy of Apostles being “hitched” to Prophets…he explains; Apostles can do certain good things on their own, Prophets can do certain good things on their own, but hitched together they can change the world!
In looking at the New Testament it seems that there are two types of Apostle - Prophet relationships:
A Casual Relationship – much like that of the Apostle Paul and the Prophet Agabus, they were acquainted or “Tied Together”, but did not work close together.
A Structured Relationship – much like that of the Apostle Paul and the Prophet Silas. Silas was Paul’s traveling partner and ministry companion. They are a great example of the biblical linking of Apostles and Prophets. We would consider them as being “Harnessed Together”.
The offices of Apostle and Prophet have been joined together by almighty God, and what God has joined together, let no man put asunder. In order for both the Apostle and Prophet to have maximum impact and effectiveness, they must be synergistically working together.
This word comes from the root word synergism - interaction of discrete agencies (as industrial firms), agents (as drugs), or conditions such that the total effect is greater than the sum of the individual effects. Webster’s Dictionary This word really came to popularity in the health supplement industry regarding the use of vitamins. Many were just popping handfuls of pills randomly, but after much research they discovered that it was better to have certain vitamins paired together in certain doses known as “SYNERGISTIC COMPOUNDS” which gave the user the maximum impact and benefit from the supplements they were taking. So it is with the Offices of Apostle and Prophet; when they are synergistically linked there is a maximum impact.
In order for us to get the maximum impact of these two offices of Apostles and Prophets not only must they be synergistically working together but they must also be mutually respecting, honoring and receiving of each other’s ministries.
“The ethical meaning of mutualism is interdependence as opposed to individualism. Mutual means that two people have so many things in common in their abilities, vision and ministries that they are interdependent on each other rather than independent of each other. There is no competitiveness, but a complementing of each other. Their callings, ministries and destinies are linked together. They give each other their mutual respect and honor with each having acceptance and appreciation of the other. The mutual ministries of Apostles and Prophets could be likened unto twins who have so much in common, but each has his or her own unique personality and abilities. But their methods and approaches seem to come from opposite directions, like the right and left hand, in fulfilling goals for their personal life and ministry.” Dr. Bill Hamon
When the prophetic revelation of a Prophet is combined with the wisdom of an Apostle, there is a whole new level of strategic application.
The insights Prophets receive into God’s strategy and timing for nations, cities and people are an incredible help to an Apostolic Church.
The combination of prophetic anointing and the signs and wonders that accompany apostolic ministry creates an incredible atmosphere for Kingdom advancement.
Even in a Paul – Agabus type relationship it is critical that Apostles be open to receiving prophetic ministry from “Proven Prophets” with whom they are NOT in a team relationship. (In fact many times a Prophet who is not intimately acquainted with a person’s life can speak more accurately because the “Word” is not affected by their natural knowledge.)
Through the prophetic gift Prophets can bring Apostles revelation that is vital to their ministry; whether it is a warning, encouragement or comfort, this aspect of the Prophet’s ministry cannot be minimized.
One of the hardest of all relationships to successfully negotiate is the relationship between peers. Even though God has placed Apostles in authority over Prophets, many times they will also be peers and even intimate friends. (In our case, My Mom & Dad, Apostles and me a Prophet, family members) When this is the case mutual respect, humility and submission to one another are even more critical.
The fruitfulness of Apostles and Prophets can increase exponentially when they are willing to work as a team. Whether it is the revelation provided by the Prophet, or the wisdom and governmental grace of the Apostle, these ministries have an ability to complement one another that is unique in the Kingdom of God.
Thank God we are living in a day when God’s restorational truth is being explained, proclaimed, and received and being implemented in many circles. We are seeing greater alignment and working together of these two ministry gifts than I have ever witnessed in my 47 years in the church and 35 years in ministry. It is indeed an exciting and new day as Apostles and Prophets are Synergistically working together.