It has been a continuing deep joy to read the outstanding Newfrontiers Magazine that has just recently been brought out. I wrote of Terry Virgo's writing of his time together with Charles Simpson and Bob Mumford a few days ago, and Mark Heath drew attention to the forth-coming publication of Newfrontiers Theological papers on the website. That mention was very interesting as Mark and I had a discussion some months ago about the possible need for a growth in ministries if Newfrontiers were to effectively manage such a large church planting mission.
I am not sure whether Mark and I are prophetic or whether Terry Virgo is an avid reader of our blogs, but I noticed another section in his Firstline that again directly related to something I addressed in that discussion on my blog! Mark Heath had raised the valid question "Are we ready to take over (from parachurch organizations) ... at the moment I doubt it". Bearing in mind Newfrontiers' passion for church planting, he said; "But this means many churches with small memberships. There is no way that they can sustain a fully comprehensive set of ministries".
This I absolutely agreed with and so went on in my blog, "The Fields are White for Harvest but the Labourers are Few", to ask the question whether through the apostolic we should be learning from other strategic centres such as Dr Yongi-Cho's church in South Korea. And secondly whether more attention must be given to raising up of Ephesians 4 ministries in 'Antioch' style Newfrontiers churches - for the specific purpose of supporting and sustaining the church planting to which we are committed.
Terry wrote of the recent Newfrontiers International Apostolic Forum:
"It had been my concern that most thought about apostolic ministry in recent days has been focused on what we might call ‘apostolic extension’, church planting and general expansion. It seems vital to me, at a time when others are also increasingly into church planting, that we take seriously the Biblical role of the apostle, not only in terms of multiplication but also in ensuring integrity of doctrine. If the Acts of the Apostles is largely about multiplication, the epistles of the Apostles demonstrate the urgency of wholeheartedly understanding and embracing genuine apostolic doctrine".
All I can say is ... awesome!
Let the two run hand in hand! Let us not spread ourselves too thinly but pursue a powerful church planting ministry that is supported by the fully active Ephesians 4 Ministries - apostles planting and preparing a foundation of sound doctrine and imparting the Holy Spirit, prophets acting as watchmen - seeing where God is moving and leading us there, evangelists to blow open unreached people groups (by the way make sure you read this outstanding article by David Devenish in the magazine!) and bring the message of the gospel and pastor/teachers to care for and raise the planted churches. All working together in the unity of the Spirit till we all come to the unity of faith and knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the extent of the full stature of Christ.