This makes sense of why, in Ephesians 4, Paul said apostles (and prophets and evangelists) are necessary for building up the church alongside pastors and teachers. Paul spoke of them as if they were commonplace.
True, there are those who say, as I once believed, that the roles of apostle and prophet faded into oblivion upon the completion of Scripture. In the modern church, however, we’ve managed to exterminate teacher and evangelist as well so that we’re left with the pastor-only model. What if, as a result of amputating these roles, the church were a dismembered quadriplegic? Would that explain why it isn’t moving? Would it shed light on why the church inchworms pathetically on its mission like a fat little grub?
If we ignore the biblical roles Christ gave us to accomplish the mission, then our structure will be wrong. If the structure is wrong, then the functionality will be limited. If the functionality is limited, then our mission will be compromised. If our mission is compromised, we won’t be as effective as Jesus intended.
We have been ignoring these important roles to our peril. The Western church is beginning to wake up to the reality that with all the sound and fury of our success, we’ve lost something. This has happened throughout history. Did you know that it’s possible for a society to go backward in its understanding? An entire civilization can devolve technologically and lose vital stratagems for engineering because they’ve forgotten certain methods.
Jones, P. (2013). Church zero: raising 1st century churches out of the ashes of the 21st century church. Colorado Springs, CO: David C Cook.