Lecturer: Apostle Colette Toach
Based on the Apostolic Handbook book by Apostle Colette Toach
I will never forget the first time we landed in Mexico and navigated through the busy highways of Tijuana. It was quite shocking to me. Firstly, all the signs were in Spanish and then it seemed that everyone drove to a different set of rules! There was this huge traffic circle in the middle of the city and to me, it looked like the people "aimed" rather than driving. Cars were everywhere and it seemed like chaos. Though miraculously enough when we reached the traffic circle, we found our way around it easy enough without being hit by any of the cars. I thank the Lord for a savvy driver who had clear directions.
The road to identifying your apostolic calling can be a lot like that. It might look like chaos, not knowing which way to go and when you finally do see some sort of sign, it does not even look like it is written in a language you understand! Yet, just like I had a faithful driver to get me safely to the other side, so also you have the Holy Spirit to take you through this traffic jam. Not only that, but you have me, your faithful GPS to show you the way.
So I will begin by translating some of the signs for you. There are over 20 different signs that will confirm your apostolic calling without a doubt, but I will give you only 10 for now.
So here we go, round the bend, take a right to the next set of traffic lights and then stop when you see the sign up ahead... "Signs of the Apostolic Call!"
1. Unique and Always Seeking to Do Things Differently
The Apostle always has fresh ideas and a new way of doing things.
2. Trained in Obscurity
The Apostle is not put into the limelight, but trained where no one can see him rise up.
3. Miraculous Call
The Apostle will receive a call from the Lord directly. It will be miraculous, personal, and then confirmed later by others. Without this personal call and conviction, there is nothing to base your apostolic calling on.
4. Call to Leadership
The Apostle is not a follower, but a leader. Capable of being a servant as well as the master.
5. Receives the Pattern
The Apostle is one that has received a specific pattern and mandate from the Lord.
6. Leads from Old to New
The Apostle leads God's people from the old to the new.
7. Forsaking Everything
The Lord will often call the Apostle to leave home, country, friends, and church, many times as part of his training.
8. Exposure to All of the Fivefold Ministries
The Apostle will be trained in all of the fivefold ministries. Although he might not hold the office for all of them, he would at least be able to function, in some way, in all of them.
9. Exposure to Different Doctrines and Denominations
The Apostle will be exposed to different doctrines and denominations as part of his training. The Lord will expose him to the entire Body of Christ.
10. Letting Go
The Apostolic walk is one of letting go. To continually let go of your ideas and what you grew up to believe, to fully become all things to all men.
Chapter 3 - Identifying Your Apostolic Calling
Sign 1: Set Apart
Romans 1:1 Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God.
This sign follows perfectly from what I have shared already. To be set apart means to be appointed. It means to be separated from the rest. If you have received a personal revelation of your apostolic calling, then you are very much set apart!
You can no longer see yourself as a regular churchgoer. Another fire burns in you and you will indeed find yourself separated. You always find yourself on the outskirts of church fellowship and standing outside of the boundaries of “how things are done” in the local church.
You are not complacent or satisfied with how the Church is run and you burn with a greater vision. This discontentment is what sets you apart. If you were content with the way things were and you were accepted by the majority, then you would not be separated would you?
I am afraid that this is a great price for one to be called an apostle and if you find yourself having a need to be accepted or recognized, then you are about to find out that being ‘separated’ is part and parcel of the apostolic calling.
Sign 2: Spiritual Entrepreneur
Galatians 2:6 But from those who seemed to be something - whatever they were, it makes no difference to me; God shows personal favoritism to no man - for those who seemed to be something added nothing to me.
7 But on the contrary, when they saw that the gospel for the uncircumcised had been committed to me, as the gospel for the circumcised was to Peter
8 (for He who worked effectively in Peter for the apostleship to the circumcised also worked effectively in me toward the Gentiles),
Paul certainly understood this sign of apostleship! He was always different. Even amongst the apostles of his time, he stood apart. Being brought up in the Jewish tradition and trained by the greatest Jewish teachers of his day, the Lord sent Paul to the gentiles! He was indeed a spiritual entrepreneur who did things differently!
He had a vision that the others did not and this is one sign that is prevalent in all who are called to the apostolic ministry. If you are always doing things differently or coming up with new ways to structure the Church, then this is indeed a sign of apostolic ministry.
Your ideas might not always work out, but you are always coming with new concepts and new patterns. You have an idea in your mind at all times of what you would do “if you were in charge” and when given the opportunity you would turn things upside down!
I remember an illustration that an apostle shared with me once. He shared how when he first started out in ministry he was put in charge of the youth group. He was brimming with so many ideas of what he wanted to do. He wanted to implement a complete structure and form a mechanism where each member of the youth would be given a place where their ministries would be identified and then trained in that position.
Of course, as he presented his full idea to the pastor, he was faced with a devastating disappointment. The pastor said, “If I had to implement that in the youth, I would have to implement it to the entire church and I am just not prepared to make that kind of change.”
This is what makes the apostle stand out! He is not only willing to take chances, but he is also willing to change. Just as Paul was willing to leave his entire Jewish heritage behind and mingle with gentiles, so will you as an apostle be called to change and to rock the boat when everyone has just become comfortable.
Do you desire to bring change? Are you forever changing the “way things are”? Then you can certainly identify with Sign 2 of the apostolic calling!
Excerpt from The Apostolic Handbook by Colette Toach
- How many signs can you tick off?
- Unique and Always Seeking to Do Things Differently
- Trained in Obscurity
- Miraculous Call
- Call to Leadership
- Receives the Pattern
- Leads from Old to New
- Forsaking Everything
- Exposure to All of the Fivefold Ministries
- Exposure to Different Doctrines and Denominations
- Letting Go
Where to From Here?... Apostolic Mandate Course!
|Lesson 1: Your Identity as an Apostle
Apostle Paul was in the middle of persecuting the Christians, when God called him to be set apart to do His will. When it was the most inconvenient, the Lord came with His power and put him onto the apostolic road. Identify your road to Damascus experience and pick up the mandate God has groomed you for all your life.