MY APOSTOLIC COMMISSIONING
I have gone by a lot of titles in ministry in the last few years: Author, Itinerate, Prophet, Seer, Teacher, Theologian, Professor, and Doctor.
In the last 18 months, I have received multiple prophetic words from trustworthy individuals stating that I am called as an apostle, but that I was in a waiting pattern until leadership in the Body of Christ determined to commission me. This was confirmation of what the Lord had been speaking to me.
On March 14th (sorry this update is late!), two recognized apostles: Robert Muncy and Dr. Harold Eberle both laid hands on me and commissioned me as a “sent one” into my calling. Over the next week, I experienced three types of interactions: people gave me confused looks and asked a bunch of questions, I’ve also had people congratulate me, and I’ve had others say, “man, that was long overdue!”
I wanted to write to bring clarity on a few things.
In the white middle-class American churches, we are afraid of the title of “Apostle.” I say this specifically because I have traveled far and wide; and when I leave America, people are not as afraid of this term, and I have been to over a dozen African American churches here in the states which are completely uninhibited by the use of “Apostle.” Our white middle-class suburban churches have made a mistake by disregarding the term “apostle.”
In the New Testament, the term “pastor” appears ONE TIME! It’s only use is in Ephesians 4:11. Whereas the word “apostle” appears over 120 times and there are 22 named apostles in the NT. Biblically we see a lot more apostles and a lot less pastors, but that’s none of my business ;)
I am not going to get into an in-depth study on apostles here, yet I do want to clarify that I am not awkward about the term because I am clear on the function.
I understand from the NT that the higher the gift of leadership, the more feet that leader is called to wash. As a Prophet I washed a lot of feet in the Body of Christ, yet as an Apostle, I am handed more rags, a few more buckets and thousands more feet are lined up for me. I recognize that I stepped into the function of serving the Body of Christ apostolically when I started Welton Academy in September 2013. Yet after a waiting period from the Holy Spirit, an official time of recognition arrived.
This is incredibly biblical. We see a similar pattern in Paul’s life. The traveling team of Barnabas and Saul were traveling around the early church. When they spent time in Antioch, the Prophets and Teachers there determined to lay hands on Saul and commission him as an apostle.
“Now in the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul. While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.” Acts 13:1-3
After this commissioning, Saul was then called Paul, and Paul’s name began to always appear before Barnabas’ name, rather than Barnabas being listed first. This signals a significant shift in the leadership gifting on Paul’s life. Impartation occurs by the laying on of hands and a release of grace empowerment occurs as well.
Although I am not bashful about the apostolic, and about operating in its function, I am actually a very reserved person. I don’t like titles in general, and I would encourage you not to use titles when it isn’t needed. When it is needful is when it helps bring clarity.
All that to say, please don’t call me Apostle Welton. It’s weird, people aren’t used to it and it’s not typically helpful. My name is Jonathan, call me Jonathan; I know that people are trying to be respectful when they put a title before my name when introducing me. But if you respect me, I’ll feel it, even without the awkward title.
Please excuse me, I have some feet to wash.
Author, Itinerate, Prophet, Seer, Teacher, Theologian, Professor, Doctor, Apostle Jonathan Jim Welton the First ;)