Tuesday, June 18, 2013

218. Some linguistic implications from the word APOSTLE Part 2

In the previous post, we looked at the implications of the word APO for understanding how apostles are wired, and consequently, their approach to ministry. Pauline apostles tend to launch out (separate) from the center and pioneer something at the edge. Petrine apostles, however, tend to mobilize the center towards the edge to achieve missional impact.

So how does the impulse to APO show up in the Petrine form of apostolic ministry? If Petrine apostles tend to stay at the center, in what ways does the APO surface in their ministry? While there are many ways to explore this, I want to suggest that the tendency to "separate" shows up in Petrine forms of apostolic ministry through a decentralizing of the organization for missional impact. That is, Petrine folks will often seek to diversify the organizations efforts to reach as many people and places as possible. Rather than trying to attract as many people as possible to the center (a staple feature of evangelistic ministry), Petrine apostles will seek to build a strong center in order to resource the edge. For a Petrine apostle, the center is not an end in and of itself. It is a generative focal point to fuel the movement. In other words, Petrine apostles see the center as a tool for mission, and the mission will tend to be multi-cultural and city wide, often leaping into other regions and spheres of influence.

Both Pauline and Petrine apostles are entrepreneurial, but their entrepreneurial energy tends to gravitate towards two be applied in two different spheres. Pauline forms of apostolic ministry will tend to focus entrepreneurial energies at the edge, while Petrine apostles will tend to focus their entrepreneurial energies at the center, mobilizing the organization itself to be entrepreneurial. This is why we say in our book The Permanent Revolution that Petrine apostles are more aptly described as being intrapreneurs. They focus their energies within the organization helping to mine its resources and mobilize the organization for entrepreneurial ventures. This often requires an organization to diversify (APO - separate) its focus and resources.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

217. Some linguistic implications from the word APOSTLE Part 1

It is amazing what kind of implications you can draw from the etymology of a word. I have been grinding over the word APOSTLE the past few weeks, and have had a few epiphanies about the word and its implications  about apostles and their  approach to ministry.

The word apostle is actually a conjunction of two words: APO = "to separate" or "withdraw" and STELLO meaning "sent."  Lets camp out on this word APO first. 

This notion of "separating" is a staple feature of apostles and how they approach their callings. Relationally speaking, apostles typically do not have a problem separating from the group. In fact, this separation from the group is often a prerequisite to being sent. Take Acts 13 for example. The Holy Spirit says "separate" Paul and Barnabas for the work I have called them to. In order to be sent, you have to make a break from the group. People who are wired as apostles typically adapt to this kind of separation from the group pretty well. In MBTI frameworks, most apostles tend to be a "T." That is, they have a penchant for creating distance between themselves and the people who will be effected by their decisions. Granted, this can be a vice if it is not tempered with love, compassion and wisdom. However, when it comes to being sent, this capacity to "separate" oneself and move forward is actually a strength. It allows the apostle to more readily make a break from the group and pioneer into new frontiers. This is more readily seen in the more Pauline type apostles who like to leave the center and pioneer something out on the edge

In the next post, I will look at how this impulse to "separate" shows up in the more Petrine types who tend to focus their ministry within the center in order to mobilize people towards the edge for missional impact.