Apostolic assignment assumes apostolic alignment. By definition. Because of who apostles are and how apostles function, alignment with apostolic assignment positions us with what Jesus is doing in the earth in our generation and brings order to the ecclesia.
Alignment answers the question, “Who are my leaders? How do I function? Where should I put my commitment and submit myself for ministry?” Leadership is assigned; alignment with apostolic assignment positions me to function in my assignment. There is never a contradiction between my assignment and the apostolic assignment with which I am aligned; alignment with a properly functioning apostolic assignment enhances my call, gifts, and function.
Apostles don’t recruit children; children don’t choose fathers. Both walk in obedience to the assignments Jesus gives them, and their submission to assignment positions them to function in the authority of assignment. Without alignment, we suffer spiritual authority malfunctions.
Apostles don’t recruit children; they recruit leaders from the children assigned to their assignment. While discipling is leadership development at heart, some disciples move closer to the heart of the leader’s assignment. That is, while all Jesus’ disciples were apostles and leaders, alignment with Peter’s leadership was required to remain in unity with the apostolic assignment that rested upon the ecclesia of the initial spiritual generation of the ecclesia.
Change of Assignment
Assignments change, requiring new alignments. They don’t have to, and we may arrive at assignment we could call “our life’s work” that settles into an assignment “for the rest of our lives.” Fresh orders may arrive from the One who gives assignments at certain times, however, until we reach that “life’s work” assignment. This profound process of assignment change occurs in deliberate manner. It is not compulsive. Receiving release or being released may be one of the least understood processes of alignment. We do better preparing people to be part of the assignment than we do preparing them to leave. (In fact, few leaders train people how to leave, so the process is usually messy.)
Jesus provides a pathway of preparation for change of assignment and a non-disruptive timing and strategy for reassignment. Realignment takes time: I have personally given anywhere from two to five years to transition, and I know many honorable leaders echo that experience. The stronger your leadership, the more time is required for your release. While I have honestly tried to find the best way to walk through transition, transition is usually very difficult. Unnecessarily so.
Assignments are generally stable, long-lasting, and enduring. In any case, we are never reassigned because we are frustrated, bitter, arrogant, or “simply determined to do our own thing.” When reassignment comes, an inner reluctance should govern our motivations. Leaving empty places in the kingdom is not healthy for anyone. People who simply disappear are usually prodigals.
Although there are similarities, spiritual fathering does not function the same as natural fathering. There is a difference between lost sheep and prodigal sons. We leave 99 to pursue wandering sheep. We have to wait for prodigals to come home, and some never return. Fathers wait at the windows, looking down the lane to see the prodigals come home. Sons are inheritors, so they are a great risk, but without the risk of betrayal and pain of vagabonding sons and daughters, no fathering occurs at all.
Every kingdom leader walks in the authority of his assignment. Jesus has all authority; leaders have assigned authority. Leaders possess all the authority equal to their assignment. That authority is available for those who share and align with the assignment.
Every kingdom assignment involves many people and multiple spiritual generations. In order to function in the authority of the assignment, those assigned align with the leadership of the assignment. Favor comes upon the assignment, and is invested in those whop align. In other words, the authority and favor is on the assignment more than the people. Authority flows to the assignment, functioning in those assigned. It is not the leader but the assignment. Leaders out of alignment remain called and gifted, but lack authority to fulfill purpose, finish the work God has given them to do.
When people say, “Look at my potential! Look at my call. Look at my gifts.” I say, “Yes, let’s develop and activate. Let’s purify destiny from the vast, unlimited ocean of potential.” I say, “You can function in calling and gift, but you are not ready for authority until you are in alignment.”
You can prophesy, do miracles, give your body to be burned, love sacrificially, preach good sermons, build a ministry, and remain a stranger to your Authority. Remember, Jesus says to those who did great things and operated in call and gifts, “Who are you and how did you get in here? Remove that person!” because they did not do the will of the Father. He didn’t know them because they were not in alignment with His assignment. You are a stranger to Jesus when you have potential, call, and gifts but walk outside your assigned alignment.
Paul’s phrasing about spiritual sons is rich with presuppositions. What he says is based upon conditions of spiritual alignment. He says of Timothy, “I send him because he has my heart. He will lead consistent with my leadership assignment. You can trust him as you would trust me.” Others would appear to preach, teach, and manifest their gifts who were not in alignment; these brought confusion to Paul’s assignment and were identified with satan’s ability to appear as an angel of light: they were compared to that ability not because they were satanic or sent by satan, but that they in the same way were about appearance and spiritual manifestation but working outside their kingdom assignment.