Paul told the churches in Asia Minor that the household of God is built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets. When writing to the Corinthian church, he told them that in the Body of Christ, God has appointed first apostles and second prophets. While recognizing a plurality of roles, Paul is clear that apostles and prophets have a central role.
Apostolic and prophetic ministry is not about hierarchy. It is about alignment with God’s mission.
Paul tells us that apostles & prophets are foundational in God’s plans (Eph. 2:20). Foundations have to be established first in order for a building to be constructed! Without adequate foundations a building will not stand.
These two roles focus heavenward. We pray, “Let Your kingdom come, on earth as it is in heaven.” We need these two functions in place to see the Kingdom come on earth.
In his book When Heaven Comes Down, Ché Ahn writes:
To be apostolically aligned we must carry the heart of our pastor or apostle… this is not submission to some heavy handed authority. It does not mean we are to walk in uniformity with leadership, or always be in complete agreement… there is room and indeed need for diversity in our alignment and unity.”
He goes on to say,
In fact, times of disagreement are when our alignment is most deeply tested. We do not commit ourselves to blind obedience, but to honoring our mutual values and mission above our temporary conflicts.”
So, we honor the apostolic function, which establishes kingdom vision and culture. And we value the prophetic function that helps keep us in line with God’s vision. Of course, because of this foundation we also see evangelists, shepherds and teachers able to work in unity in equipping all the saints for the work of ministry.