The New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) is a term that was used by Peter Wagner to describe current trends in church movements, particularly with regard to a “five-fold” ministry and church polity. These NAR movements are supposed to be led through relationships instead of structures, and generally follow the Ephesians 4:10 pattern.
This concept first emerged as part of the Latter Rain movement which started in Saskatchewan in 1948. The Latter Rainers had the original revelation of the “five-fold” as five different ministry offices rooted in relational networks. It was a powerful and transformational concept that spread around the world. Unfortunately, it had some unhealthy overtones which ended badly for many. There was an elitist and separatist streak based in the theology of special people who were the “manifested sons of God.” and had unique authority to lay hands on people to impart gifts developed.
The five-fold idea was adopted by the Shepherding movement, which was probably the most important movement in the Charismatic church in the 1970s. Because of its focus on Spiritual authority, relational networks, and Charismatic roots, the Shepherding movement was a natural heir of the Latter Rain doctrine, but the authority as practiced in these churches became toxic and in most cases ended quite badly.
Peter Wagner, the Fuller Seminary professor closely associated with the dynamic activity in the Vineyard really gave fresh focus and energy to the idea of five-fold ministry with the concept of the the New Apostolic Reformation. His energy and recognition gave fresh momentum to the concept of five-fold ministry, worldwide. A lot of the movements he observed or described were really rooted in either the Latter Rain or Shepherding influences or in some cases were just personality driven/top-down churches that got called “Apostolic.” If one could build a “family tree” of “apostolic” ministries, you could probably trace the majority of them back to the Fort Lauderdale Five Shepherding movement or its sister the British New Church Movement, and most the rest you could trace to the Latter Rain.
When I originally wrote this article the idea of apostolic networks was still pretty big, but it has now largely been supplanted by more mainstream church growth ideas. For this reason, I think that article has more interest historically than for the contemporary church. As I’ve now had the opportunity to participate in some different church expressions, my own views have adapted as well. If you are a pastor or church planter, I encourage you to check out my book, Encounter Based Church where I explore how to build a church that focused on the Holy Spirit, but also reaches lost people.
One of the funny things about apostolic networks was that, because of the relational concept, there is no official listing of them. I’m sure the inside leaders of these movements know who is who, but the average person only knows their own. I welcome contributions and insights from readers on this topic.
Shepherding Influenced Networks
I would generally avoid these movements with the possible exception of Dove. Depending on how deep they are in the Shepherding it’s probably not very healthy for you to be there. Regardless, it’s important to understand those with Shepherding as a significant part of their history, and therefore understanding of what a network is about, and what Christian experience is.
- Every Nation — (Formerly known as Morning Star International). I was trained in this movement, but am no longer a part. It is in many ways successor to Maranatha Campus Ministries. (A few churches were also brought in from His People in Africa). When I joined in 1998, Every Nation was called Morning Star and had a radical flavored campus ministry. The radical atmosphere was a good thing to be around, but unfortunately some of the bad practices from Maranatha and the Shepherding Movement theology never fully went away. There was a big meltdown around five years ago during which I left, and I think they have moderated a bit more since then, but I still would not go back.
- Dove Christian Fellowship — Led by Larry Kreider. This one I think is more family-oriented and less aggressive. I’ve met Larry, he is a wonderful, humble guy. Reading the site more closely you can see that they were influenced by the Shepherding movement and went through some wilderness years, but here is one of the few groups to actually apologize and be continually transparent which is certainly a mark of real change. I would never have guessed Larry came out of Shepherding based on our interaction.
- Victory Churches International – Canadian NAR type group led by founder. Now expanding to US. Talk about Covenant relationships, probably indicates Shepherding history. Also would guess mild Word of Faith influence.
- Bethany Cell Church Network — Follows the G12 principles, which have some of the hierarchical Shepherding errors baked in. It’s a shame because some great churches and people have been associated with this group in the past. Jonathan Stockstill is the lead pastor, following in the footsteps of his father, Larry Stockstill.
- Praise Chapel – Led by Larry Neville. Praise Chapel was an offshoot of Wayman Mitchell’s “Potter’s House” (or CFM). Although it was supposed to be a reformist movement it seems that the reforms only went so far. They do not appear to be as deep in the shepherding doctrine as CFM, they definitely have some abused former members out there complaining about them.
- New Covenant Ministries International or NCMI — South African Apostolic movement started by Dudley Daniel. There are a number of disgruntled members, showing this is likely heavily shepherding influenced as well. Rob Rufus the prophetic voice who has had some involvement with New Frontiers movement came from here originally.
- Sovereign Grace Ministries of SGM — Sovereign Grace Minitries used to be People of Destiny International, which was Larry Tomczak and CJ Mahaney. Recently, they have taken a new direction which is hardcore Calvinist and also more heavy handed leadership approach which has left a lot of members burned, including Larry Tomczak himself(!) who has now left. There is a major site up now with people hurt under this change, and at this point I would consider it to be the most actively dangerous of the groups listed here.
Latter Rain Influenced Networks
Although the shepherding movement was influenced by the Latter Rain, not all of the Latter Rain embraced the Shepherding movement. These two networks are more directly descended from the Latter Rain
- Christian International Apostolic Network — This is Bill Hamon’s Group. It has a prophetic flavor. I attended the New England regional conference a few months ago. They really incorporated prophetic spirituality into the church in a way I found healing. Jim Davis is the current leader.
- Kingdom Community Network — aka Congress WBN, Elijah Centre. Led by Dr. Noel Woodroffe, a black leader from Trinidad. He must be fairly influential. I had a very pleasant exchange with Davie Copp, pastor of City at the Cross, one of the key churches, which was also one of the original Latter Rain churches. Davie made clear that they do not and have never embraced the Shepherding Movement or doctrine, but also explained that they have a view of authority which has some similarities. The fact that he took the time to talk with me was a very good sign, and if it were solely based on my interaction with him, I’d like to be able to recommend their network, but the queries I receive from around the world, and the testimonies on FactNet are concerning. The general principle I hold for everyone is that if where you are is not promoting your spiritual health, then leave and find a place that is.
- Church on the Rock International — Network of churches and ministries in North America, led by Dr. Michael and Mary Maiden.
- Grace Churches International — This one is more strongly Reformed in doctrine. It has 550 churches spread across 70 countries. Dr. Greg Williams is the President.
- International Network of Five Fold Ministries — Fellowship of Christian leaders under covering of Pastor Harold Weitsz and Pastor Clive Gopaul.
- Faith Christian Fellowship — Offers licensing, ordination, and coaching for pastors and youth leaders.
- Association of Related Churches — Network of church planters and growth consultants with presence in Canada, Ireland, Australasia, and South Africa.
- Evangel Fellowship International — Led by Phillip Miles. Promotes unity and fellowship among members and encourages New Testament ministry.
- World Harvest Church Ministerial Fellowship — Founded by Dr. Rod Parsley to encourage pastors around the world to focus on planting and revitalizing churches.
Kansas City Prophetic Influenced US Networks
- The Rain Network — I think I overheard someone talking about this while at The Call. Cal Pierce of the “other” John G. Lake healing room ministries is part of this group.
- The River — Bill Johnson does not have a network per se, but this is where he recommends you go if you want a network. He is on the board, but it’s currently a small CA thing, with charismatic/prophetic overtones.
- Harvest International Ministries — Led by Che Ahn, who is the spiritual son of Fuller Missiologist Peter C. Wagner. This apostolic network extends into over 65 nations and connects over 25,000 ministries and organizations.
- Partners in Harvest — Partners in Harvest network, outgrowth of the Toronto revival. John and Carol Arnott are leaders. In addition to their network of churches, they run a college of supernatural ministry and missions programs and events.
- Apostolic Network of Global Awakening — Randy Clark’s Group. I don’t know how much it qualifies as a true network of churches though. It is more a voluntary association of regular Christians and church and ministry leaders seeking more of God.
- Fellowship of Connected Churches and Ministries — Provides resources, networking, mentoring, and covering for churches passionate about kingdom advance.
The Apostolic movement in Britain started from the House Church Network, which was the British equivalent of the Shepherding Movement, and was founded first by seven key leaders, and then later an additional seven. These men went on to become the foundation stones of the now burgeoning Charismatic movement in Britain. British Charismatics are different than American Charismatics. They are more Calvinistic across the board, they reject Word of Faith pretty much completely, and do not seem to have the same degree of authority problems in American churches, although I’m not completely sure. There is a book called Apostolic Networks in Britain by William Kay that gives the fuller and better picture of these networks. You can read the book review of Apostolic Networks in Britain at this site. In addition, you can find full treatment on the wiki under British New Church Movement:
- Salt and Light — Led by Barney Coombs (UK), it is a network of churches across Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas.
- The Ground Level — Led by Stuart Bell (UK). Has a strong prophetic emphasis and commitment to Word and Spirit.
- Ministries Without Borders — Split from Covenant Ministries International, under the leadership of Keri Jones
- New Frontiers — This is a British movement led by Terry Virgo. Influenced by the thought of the late Arthur Wallis. They seem to be very successful in the UK especially. Seems very solid on the Word. In general what I would call “British evangelical charismatic”
- Pioneer Network Led by Gerald Coates. Seeks to re-evangelize the nations, plant churches, equip existing churches, and train leaders.
- New Community — New Community arose from the ashes of C.Net/Cornerstone which was led by Tony Morton. Graham Cooke was associated.
- Christian City Churches International — Australian church planting movement. Their first US church is in Atlanta. I think this is the “Other” Australian mega-church.
- Household of Faith — Small South African Movement.
- Multiply Network, Jesus Army. — An informal partnership of churches, leaders, and groups with a vision to see a spread of radical Christianity across the world.
These groups typically emerged out of the early phase of the Latter Rain/Healing revival. The do not propose to be apostolic networks in the same sense that the NAR groups do, providing more of a confederation model. They are however more Charismatic than the Pentecostal denominations.
- Elim Fellowship — Mike Cavanaugh is one of the key guys here. I was familiar with him from his limited contact with Every Nation. They apparently are going through a generational transition from wise senior statesmen to middle-aged men. This may lead to a renewed energy and direction. Bob Mumford was originally with Elim, and now that he’s out of the Shepherding movement, he has renewed his ties to Elim.
- World Ministry Fellowship — My friend attended one of these churches. Seemed to be a pretty nondescript Charismatic group. Randy Bozarth is associated.
- The Full Gospel Fellowship — I attended a church that was a part of this fellowship. Full name is Full Gospel Fellowship of Churches and Ministries International (FGFCMI) Led by older men. Was founded by Gordon Lindsey in parallel to the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship International. (FGBMFI). They are obviously easily confused.
- Ministers Fellowship International — Led by Dick Iverson. This is probably the most mature of the apostolic movements. Most of these guys have been flowing together since the Latter Rain days, some 50 years ago. Includes Frank Damazio, and famous Bible teacher Kevin J. Conner.
- World Council of Independent Christian Churches (WCICC) — This seems to be an indigenous group that has gotten reach in the US. A friend of mine is credentialed there for possible Chaplaincy.
There are others that I’ve stumbled across, but if there is no website with a list of churches and leaders, conferences, etc, then I’m skeptical about the size/reach, etc of these groups. Some of these are:
- Apostolic Christian Network — My friend met the leader’s brother on the plane. Apparently Apostolic Christian Network have a huge number of churches in Brazil.
- City Harvest Network — Traces leadership from Smith Wigglesworth to Howard Carter to Dr. Lester Sumrall to Rod Parsley. Connects Pentecostal leaders around the world to plant Spirit-filled churches and multiply believers.
- Missional Church Network — Seeks to restore North American church to a missional orientation. Led by Brad Brisco.
- Missional International Church Network — They seem to put on conferences and offer training and networking for missional leaders.
- Church Foundation Network — This network is no longer around, but the history of Sumrall’s firm belief in the modern-day restoration of the apostolic movement is worth reading about.
- Breakthrough Apostolic Ministries — Assists churches, organizations, and individuals in developing prayer ministries.
- Morningstar Ministries Fellowship International — A small network in northern New England. We have visited there.
- Rock Ministerial Family Fellowship – Founded by Bishop John Gimenez.
- Vanguard International – Founded by Dick Benjamin. Includes Jay Zinn of Davidson, NC.
- Finally you can check this page where where you can find all of the old school Pentecostal Denominations.
A lot of the ones in the paragraph at the end are ministries around a single individual rather than a team, and it’s questionable if they will survive that person’s ministry, or if they will ever really take off.
In reflection, I think there was a lot of “man” in these ideas, which got in the way of worshiping Jesus. He allowed them to prosper for a time as part of His larger plan for building the church, but I’m not sure it was ever intended to be a new church structure as it was made out to be by its proponents.