Throughout history (all of it), when crisis and upheaval came, God raised up catalyst people to declare redemption to His people and the world around them. He raised them up in places where influence spread, whether in a city, a nation, or the world at large. A quick review of the scripture reveals some of the catalyst people God used. Spoiler alert: None of them were traditional religious leaders!
Joseph – God’s man of preparation.
Famine, flood and disaster occur in history. Preparation to meet the challenges related to these calamities is central to navigating these times. In one specific example, Joseph became the catalyst for stockpiling food after interpreting a dream of cows eating cows and grain eating grain. (Genesis 41) The Pharaoh of the day identified him as a man filled with the Spirit of God! (Genesis 41: 38) Joseph then became the catalyst for moving and preserving nations by preparing a divine response to Pharaoh’s dream. He was sent to this city as a slave, then elevated to the most powerful political figure in the land – supernaturally promoted in the city of his captivity. (Genesis 41:40)
Moses – God’s man of deliverance
Times and seasons see politics and policies change. The same is true in Moses time. After Joseph’s generation passed away, a new Pharaoh came to power in Egypt and turned the favour of Joseph and Israel into slavery and genocide. (Exodus 1) Despite this Pharaoh’s efforts to pound down and kill Israel, God raised up Moses as a deliverer for Israel from within Pharaoh’s own family. (Exodus 2) After Moses tried deliverance in his own strength, he ends up in the wilderness where God sets him apart to fulfill his divinely inspired and appointed purpose: deliver Israel from Egypt. (Exodus 2 and 3). Once anointed Moses declared God’s desire for freedom for His people. When Pharaoh resisted the call for freedom to God’s people, supernatural plagues followed with the eventual freedom of Israel to return to the land God promised them. (Exodus 12-40)
Nehemiah – God’s man of restoration
Sometimes things are simply forgotten. In the times of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, Jerusalem was defeated and Israel enslaved. (2 Kings 24, 25; Daniel 1-12; Esther 1-10) Jerusalem and the temple eroded into a state of disrepair and was overrun by people hostile to God and the memory of Israel. (Nehemiah 1) When it came to the attention of Nehemiah, he was determined to restore Jerusalem and the Temple to their former glory. (Nehemiah 1:4-2:9) Nehemiah was moved by God to act as the catalyst for restoration and succeeded in restoring the walls of Jerusalem, rebuilding the Temple and driving out the enemies of God and His people. (Nehemiah 3-11) He rallied the king (Artaxerxes – arta-zertz-eez) and the people of Jerusalem to rebuild the wall, restoring Jerusalem and the Temple as a refuge and symbol of God’s covenant. (Nehemiah 2)
Jesus – Prepared as deliverer and restorer
Jesus came in the ‘fullness of time’ (time fully completed to see something come to pass) (Bromiley, p. 870) as the way of deliverance and restoration for experiencing a complete and fulfilled relationship with God as sons and daughters, empowered by His Spirit, to declare His message in grace and power. This fullness of time perfectly fulfills His purpose – past, present and future. Jesus is the catalyst for our deliverance. He releases us to hope and the full expectation of the glorious times He prepares/prepared for us ahead. (Romans 8: 21) Our restoration comes by His Spirit, power and destiny. (Romans 8: 12) Our future is set in order and released through His church, by His gifts from the Spirit – birthing His destiny in us. He is the catalyst for our preparation and leads us powerfully to our deliverance and restoration for present activation!
Apostles – Catalytic five-fold leaders
Since Jesus catalyzed our future, we are prepared and intended for release to destiny and activation through His church. In His structure apostles are first, then prophets, miracles, healings, helping, leadership and tongues. (1 Corinthians 12: 28) This is His same focus for the five-fold gifts: apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers tasked with training and building harmony in the body of Christ, drawing attention to the work of God in our midst and the declaring of His constant revelation among us. (Ephesians 4: 11-13) Apostles are God’s chosen catalyst for releasing ministry. In Volume 1 of Aligning with the Apostolic, Bruce Cook identifies four historical groupings of apostles. (pp. 71-74). He lists them this way:
- Apostles of the Lamb (the original 12)
- Post-commissioning Apostles (appointed by the 12/Jesus after the initial appointments)
- Post-resurrection Apostles (appointed by the 11 remaining apostles)
- Post-ascension Apostles (called after the ascension by Jesus and His Spirit through today)
Apostles are first among equals in the body as brothers and sisters in the body of Christ, designed to work together with other called gifts for His kingdom purposes of equipping the body and bringing them to unity in faith. (Ephesians 4:16) They do not rule, but partner with other ministries and gifts to put things in order and establish God’s kingdom purposes together.
Apostolic cities and their purpose
Looking at how God sees our cities (thebase point of all callings and appointments), apostolic cities are catalysts for changing culture and nations. Apostolic cities have a purpose in training people and building harmony in the body of Christ in those cities, recognizing the work of God and declaring God’s continued and continuing revelation to the church and cities they are called to serve. (Ephesians 4: 11-13) Apostolic cities set the tone for the release of five-fold ministries in the cities of origin and beyond. Active apostolic ministry sets cities apart for greater release and power in the Spirit – for revival, redemption and declaration of God’s greater kingdom purpose.
Apostolic cities build connections with five-fold ministries to partner and create greater understanding of God’s kingdom release for building His church and realizing the potential they have in His Kairos (divinely appointed time for God to act) generated, transformational plan. An apostolic city sets the tone for transformative life to renew and revive God’s purposes for the city, region and nation. Connecting apostolic cities can equip nations, establish unity in the faith, create greater awareness of God’s fullness to His people, release greater refreshing in His power and provides a mature understanding of His presence and gifts to make the times and seasons of God plain. (Ephesians 4: 11-16)
The call to go forth
We need to embrace our catalytic call. Not as singularly called apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers crying in the wilderness, but as unified voices in our cities, to our regions and nations. We need to embrace being catalysts for releasing ministry in our city by recognizing and developing partnerships with God-equipped ministries around us and leading people to prayer for the unequipped, who are needing release to His purposes and plan for them and their place in His church. Apostles, leading kingdom focused apostolic cities, become influential, regardless of the size.
An apostolic city can be a lesser city by population, but fulfills the apostolic call for equipping, unity and awareness of God’s plans and purpose in their midst. The order is right, the response is right and the obedience to His kingdom revelation is clear.
An apostolic city does not require an apostle to be in government with the city. The gifts and calling of God are irrevocable. (Romans 11: 29) They do not disappear. Elected officials (including many religious leaders)serve temporary terms of appointment. An apostolic city operates in the governance and expression of God’s five-fold ministry with each one accomplishing the call of God through their gifts and operating as the ‘first among equals’ in seeing God’s kingdom purpose and plan to become a reality for the city as a continuous and continuing call. In this environment, no weapon formed against these cities of God can prosper and no criticism will stand. (Isaiah 54:17)
Apostolic cities embrace their catalytic nature. They establish training centers to equip the church for responding to the world around them in the grace and power of His Spirit, calling the church to accomplish greater things than He did (John 14:12- 18) by walking in the authority of His name and responding to His commands and purpose by His Spirit and a release of His gifts. This leads to preparation, deliverance and restoration for cities, regions and nations as they respond to the obedient call of His Spirit.
Apostolic cities establish unity around kingdom plans. They are marked by cooperation and commitment. Apostolic cities commit to unity first, understanding every believer/ministry/gift is part of God’s expression of faith and power to the world around us and when one hurts (believer/ministry/gift) we all hurt. (1 Corinthians 12: 25, 26) Apostolic cities are cities aware of the fullness of God and practice that awareness to fulfill kingdom plans and purpose.
God used catalytic/apostolic personalities through the ages, to accomplish His purpose and plan. Hebrews 11: 4-39 mentions the catalytic faith of many called to influence their times and seasons: Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Rahab, Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets. Because of their faithfulness we are called to lay aside our burdens, and the evil plans that catch us off guard, and patiently run the race prepared for us by looking to Jesus, to direct every expression and action of our faith, walk and call. (Hebrews 12: 1-2)
God uses catalytic/apostolic personalities today. I believe many of you are called as a catalytic leader in the present day to declare and reveal God’s revelation and purpose as important members of apostolic influence called as cooperative five-fold expressions of God’s kingdom to prepare, deliver and restore His people for their kingdom purpose today. Answer the call to shape apostolic cities as a catalyst for influence, preparation, deliverance and restoration. The world is waiting.
Bromiley, G. W. (1985). Theological dictionary of the New Testament: Abridged in one volume. Grand
Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.
Cook, B. (2012). Aligning with the apostolic: An anthology of apostleship (Vols. 1-5).Lakebay, WA:
Kingdom House Publishing.