Recently, I came across a phrase which gave definition to the sort of worship which I feel God has anointed me for: “apostolic worship”. In a later post, I intend to unpack that term a bit more fully, but for now, I want to shed some light on the word “apostolic” because I think that phrase is often misunderstood by the church.
Bill Johnson actually introduces the concept in his book The Essential Guide to Healing (2011) at pp 117 onwards, so I’m just going to quote him:
The word apostle in the New Testament means “sent one”. Apostle was originally a secular term used by both the Greeks and the Romans to refer to the leader of a special envoy. That leader had the job of establishing the culture of the empire he represented into the daily lives of the citizens the empire conquered. Leaders had discovered that the citizens of conquered lands went back to their previous way of life rather quickly without a transforming influence. It was extremely frustrating to see no change result in a conquered nation, which nullified the purpose of the conquest. For this reason, they came up with a strategy to transform the culture of a conquered city so that when the empire’s leaders visited, it would feel the same as home…. The position of apostle was created in response to this need. Jesus adopted the term to reveal His intentions. His apostles lead a special envoy of people who have the job of establishing the culture of the empire of heaven into the daily lives of the citizens they serve.
The Lord’s Prayer is an apostolic prayer. On earth as it is in heaven. Make this world like that one. That does not mean you have to be an apostle to pray it. It means that the purpose of the prayer is a clear expression of the apostolic mandate to transform the thinking and lifestyles of the nation so that they are the same as the governing nation – in this case, heaven. This becomes the mandate of the Church when it has a full expression of healthy leadership.
Understood this way, revolutionary worship, worship which transforms, is apostolic in nature. It is about bringing heaven to earth, bringing transformation to those who worship, but also unleashing the culture of heaven to our communities, cities and nations.