Apostolic Perspectives #14 - Moving Toward A Strong, Well-Built Apostolic Church Community
Those who built on the wall, and those who carried burdens, loaded themselves so that with one hand they worked at construction, and with the other held a weapon. Every one of the builders had his sword girded at his side as he built. And the one who sounded the trumpet was beside me. Then I said to the nobles, the rulers, and the rest of the people, “The work is great and extensive, and we are separated far from one another on the wall. Wherever you hear the sound of the trumpet, rally to us there. Our God will fight for us.” (Neh. 4:17-20)
What can we learn from the above passage of Scripture?
4 Valuable Takeaways
Work and "War" at the Same Time
It's possible to work and "war" at the same time. The idea of creating a seamless integration between our occupation and our worship is not only possible, it is one of the very essences of the apostolic church. When Jesus said " men ought always to pray...", he didn't mean that we should withdraw from the marketplace, abandon our domestic responsibilities and hide ourselves in a closet somewhere.
The Nehemiah story clearly shows us, in principle, that we can war and work at the same time. For some of us, this is more a matter of pressing in for understanding than anything else. (For the sake of time and space, some of these concepts will not be fully developed. They serve as pointers for those who wish to pursue further understanding)
Relationship and Flexibility
"...the one who sounded the trumpet was beside me".
Leaders must operate in close proximity to each other.
Though Nehemiah was the primary leader, the other leaders (those who sounded the trumpet) needed to be close to him. This was of practical and strategic necessity.
"Wherever you hear the sound of the trumpet..."
This points to the issue of flexibility. Flexibility both in where and when they would gather.
The strategic value of this cannot be overstated. They needed to be able to adapt to changing circumstances. If they had settled into hearing the trumpet once or twice a week, they would now have to learn to adapt to the possibility of a more- or less frequent coming together. The key to the success of this strategy is the nearness of leaders to each other. This is true of business organizations as much as it is true of kingdom communities.
Adaptability is almost synonymous with the apostolic dimension. From its very inception, the church has had to adapt to changing circumstances.
Separation is not Division
“The work is great and extensive, and we are separated far from one another on the wall. Wherever you hear the sound of the trumpet, rally to us there..."
Division in scripture always points to inner realities. Unity is also an invisible but very real phenomenon. A kingdom community is held together by relationship and apostolic vision, not necessarily the visible structures around us. Once this is clearly understood, physical distance and diverse activities are no longer barriers. They become opportunities to spread kingdom influence in the society. "Great and extensive" responsibilities from God need not be a cause for division among the saints
God is Fighting for Us
"...Our God will fight for us.”
When God gets involved in the battle, there is an enemy around somewhere! Another self-evident truth is that our victory is assured! It is a given that all of us will face challenges. It is not a given that all of us will respond correctly to these challenges. Most challenges are opportunities in disguise. These timeless truths from Nehemiah's story were written for our benefit. All levels of leadership, business owners, entrepreneurs or mature believers in Christ can apply them for strategic kingdom advance.
Apostle F. Wilson