Hello, I am Alistair Matheson. Together with my wife, Barbara, and a team of ascension leaders from around Scotland and far beyond, I help lead a network of churches in fellowship with The Apostolic Church UK.
Did you just squint at the term ‘ascension leaders’? In his letter to the Ephesians, the apostle Paul taught that, when Jesus Christ “ascended” to heaven, He poured out gifts upon His church, giving some as apostles, some as prophets, some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers. The purpose of these gifts was – and remains – to equip Christ’s body, so that a mature and united community would reveal His fullness on earth.
Jesus’ ascent to heaven was not about Him ‘downing tools’ but sending tools down. He was not ‘going into retirement’, but ‘moving upstairs’ to represent His church in heaven and, by the agency of the Holy Spirit, to direct and resource His church on earth in Phase 2. For 2,000 years, He has not just been preparing for us a place in heaven, but building a dwelling of God on earth. From His seated position at the right hand of the Father, Jesus’ ascension marked the upscaling of His global mission, initiating the kind of plans He had in mind when He told His disciples, “The works that I do, he [the believer in Him] will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I am going to the Father.” (John 14:12)
The trust of ascension leaders, sometimes referred to as ‘fivefold ministries’, is not to become some kind of new order priesthood, but rather to equip the whole body of Christ collectively; that, like tiny parts of a mosaic, each one of us might find our place in one clear and fulsome expression of Jesus Christ. Jesus sees every disciple as a minister, and ascension leaders are gifted from heaven to equip a serving community.
Ascension leaders, therefore, do not so much ‘do the ministry’ as equip the entire church to do it, by example and teaching; igniting, equipping and guiding believers as they discover their place in the living body through which alone their calling will flourish.
None of us ever outgrows this principle.
As ascension leaders, we are all part of something much greater than ourselves; far bigger even than the denominations or movements we belong to. The local communities we lead will not properly grow – and neither will we personally – outside of dynamic spiritual relationship with the wider body, and without regular exposure to other leaders, sent by the ascended Christ to inspire, unite and mobilise us.
Ascension Forum could be such a gift to you, as you draw upon the contributions of 21st century apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. It is my prayer that their message will ignite, reignite and affirm the gifting and calling of Christ in you and, through you, those He has graced you to lead.
If you would like to offer feedback on any of the content of this Ascension Forum site, please don’t hesitate get in touch.
I pray you’ll be richly encouraged and blessed as you browse!