Kingdom Change Logo

Apostolic Movements

Will Riddle 11 minutes to read

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.

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

Miscellaneous Networks

Kansas City Prophetic Influenced US Networks

UK/Commonwealth Networks 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:

Fellowships 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.

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:

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.


Most Influential Pentecostal/Charismatic Churches in America

Will Riddle9 minutes to read

While there are lots of lists of big churches, there really isn't a list that gives a good picture of the landscape inside the Spirit-filled world.  Understanding this landscape can help you as leader to navigate your world better and ultimately make better choices.   Great leaders follow other great leaders, …

Prophets That I Know About

Will Riddle21 minutes to read

The prophetic movement began in 1948 with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in North Battleford, Saskatchewan. A group of Pentecostal Bible students from the Sharon Orphanage and Schools began fasting after some of their leaders had driven to Vancouver to see William Branham in person. Branham's gift was so …

Schools of Supernatural Ministry

Will Riddle8 minutes to read

In the last hundred years or so, the Lord has been restoring the Holy Spirit to His rightful role in the Church. The Body of Christ has been rediscovering the importance of miracles, healing, and the prophetic in demonstrating the gospel. As the Body is maturing in the gifts of …



I recently came across a concept of church growth based on the idea of 'mentoring'; the idea being that each born again church member is 'mentored' and 'mentors'. Have you heard of such a practice, and if so what is the Biblical evidence for it. To me it sounds very similar to the 'shepherding movement of the 1970s.

Ross Smith

while i cant blame the man mark zaragoza for our present condition i do blame him if that makes sence. i rember this guy lying from the pulpit. and when i asked about it he was spiritually livid. and began a series of messages designed at causing a division to set my wife and i apart. i was tossed out the first time for praying that we would only listen to the lord and not man. i know the lord is faithfull and that he is soverin while i have yet to have full kowledge of why he allowed my self to go thru this i think the present apostolic movement is doing dammage to the body of christ. because it playes on our desires to serve the lord while making us submissive to an office of apostle rather than the lord. i rember the lord had sent me down town one day and it lead to a wondwerfull relationship with at leats 25 homeless men. we would just sit and talk on occasion i would bring them food and water. when he found this out he began a series about how mercy motivated people are screwed up and i was incouraged not to spend the time with the homeless any more. he said is was done out of vain selfishness and not pure faith. and that some how by giving a man water when its 110 outside was selfish and self motivated. so i quit. it was often taught about adhearing to the apostles doctrine that incompassed areas in that i dont believe the lord granted him authority in my life. so naturally i was deemed as a strife causer. he would teach correctly that one who is prophetic in thiercalling or a prophet couldnt ever miss it then they would be a fles prophet. and i agree. however he would often be wrong and then excuse it by we dont understand the lord and his ways and that we are only operating on our natural understanding of the lord and scripture. strangly enough this guy believes that the lord jesus is not in control of his body of believers. while in some sence he is correct in that we are not puppets but i do believe taht the lord has a plan and will get it accomplished indicating his soverinty over the body of christ. whle i most likely havent worded what i had hoped to i would say this there is one lord oen saviour. he is the head and anyone who says they are the hand of the lord in an apostolic mininstry is one to be wary of.

Ross Smith

this may take a bit so please bear with me. several years ago the lord was moving and my wife and i seen alot of the lords blessing, not that this is or motivation for relationship with him. any way i was in a rather large church and a guy named apostle mark zaragoza called me out and said that the lord had much for us in the way of "ministry". my wife and myself have always known that the lord would call us into the ministry. any way we became involved in this mans ministry. any way after 4 years instead of my walk being stronger its now belemic at best. the man used the title of apostle to belittle and break people down, all the while proping his so called office up. he was once involved with kenneth copeland and hagen. while im in compleate agreement with the need for the apostolic in the body today from personal expierance its one that we should be very very careful and slow to support. there was once a day when i had a solid foundation and what this man did was break it down. and when i would ask him about things the pat responce is how imature the entire body of christ is and about how all churches are operating out of thier own errant understyanding of the bible. including my self. it would seem in hind sight and even prior to that i had mentioned the lack of the liftuing up of christ and more of the lifting up of the apostolic. in short this man is an eggocentric narssasistist. i was told over and over and over and over that i couldnt hear from god and waht i believed i was hearing was not god but rather my flesh. sinch the apostolic is big into offices and order you kinda get lulled into deception. im thankfull the lord brought us out of this place we lost all our friends and were "blackballed". so much dammage was dnoe we now have no faith that the lord had aclled us one day in his time into his ministry.

Nick Bulbeck

Just like to pick up on the brief conversation a few posts above, between Nelson and Thinkingriddles, on the difference between a network and a denomination. Quick quote to set the context: "You are right that many have argued that the key difference between Apostolic networks and denominations is whether it is “relationship based” or “doctrine based.” In my experience most apostolic networks are built around a strong personality. This means they rise and fall with the person. When the person falls, moves on or dies, it becomes something else. THIS MAY ACTUALLY BE OK. It means that churches feel more free to “follow the cloud” of God’s leading at the time." [My emphasis] I think you're absolutely right here, Thinkingriddles, in particular about a network becoming something else. That was certainly true of the 3-year local ministry of Jesus... It's worth remembering that the manna in the wilderness, though unquestionably an authentic gift from God, had a very strict use-by date. I think this is a clear warning: a genuine move of the Holy Spirit can be preserved, by misguided and carnal effort, past its point of usefulness, until it is rotten and supports only a crude and unpleasant form of "life". Please note that this is NOT a back-handed swipe at any extant christian group! I know God initiates longer-term works as well; I'm simply aware that this is a mistake I could make. Two possibilities this stuff raises for me are: 1) When we set up some form of church organisation, it may often be appropriate for it to have built-in mortality. That is, when some KNOWN set of criteria are met, we'll know it's dead and should - figuratively speaking - be buried with dignity. Thus, people can move on, fresh ministries can grow and resources pass on to whatever springs up from it, instead of it becoming an idol of tradition that people fall in love with or a bronze snake that - again, figuratively speaking - people burn incense to (as per 2 Kings 18:4 - it's interesting that they had even named it!). 2) Perhaps one of the hallmarks of true apostleship is the absence of any significant monument to the apostle. A large or long-lasting "Joe Bloggs Ministries" may at best suggest a gifted leader (proistemi, as per Romans 12:8) who in one way or another has been mistaken for an apostle. Instead, genuine apostles produce mature believers and release them to excel and eclipse their apostolic foundations. Any thoughts welcome...

Will Riddle

Nick. It's clear to me that the "new wineskins" and the "old wineskins" both have a function, however, even in the parable. If he had wanted to destroy the old wineskins, he could have, but he says "both are preserved. And that's what I think we see. Take for example the case of the split between the American Assemblies of God and the Latter Rain. Who was right in that? Both... and neither. The AG rejected a real move of God, but the concerns they raised about it were also real, and they showed up in later years. That did not in any way stop God from using both groups, however. And in fact, the Brownsville revival was a way of "remarrying" the two together. What was good about the Latter Rain came into the AG, long after the extreme elements were burned away., On your second question, some of these highly proactive "apostolic" types are the ones God uses to get things done, because everyone else is too passive and "waiting" for a move of God while they are actually starting one. This type of personality is often more ego-centric than others, however, and so more likely to flame out. I don't think it's God's preference, but it seems to be the case that he often works through this kind of person -- at least until they self-destruct.

Alex M

Re your entry on NCMI - there is no 'main prophet' in New Frontiers, and AFAIK Rob Rufus isn't part of New Frontiers! He spoke at the New Frontiers Together On A Mission conference a few years ago, but I'm fairly sure he was still part of NCMI then and separated later. I'm fairly sure New Community is now a part of Pioneer (like New Frontiers, they've moved to an 'apostolic spheres' sort of model, but they've given names to the different spheres of influence). Pioneer is now led by Billy & Caroline Kennedy, who used to lead New Community Church and who I think are still based there. The wikipedia entry on the British New Church Movement (\_New\_Church\_Movement) is a pretty good summary of the UK apostolic movements, and includes links to articles about many of the main groups and individuals - if might be helpful to include the link in your article One other group that you've missed is Sovereign Grace Ministries ( - previously known as People of Destiny International). However, if you look at and there appear to be some pretty serious problems in that network, and they also seem to be moving more and more towards a denominational model rather than an apostolic network


you've missed off an apostolic network in the UK, one that split from Covenant Ministries International, under the leadership of Keri Jones. It's called Ministries Without Borders.

Pastors Gideon And Evelyn

It is my prayer that the Almighty God will bless you for the work of the Kingdom that you are doing in the body of Christ. I have been looking for teachings materials from the internet and God directed me to your website where I went through it. You may not know but I was blessed and I felt ministered to in my spirit. After going through your website I feel God leading me to commit my time to praying for you together with my family and the intercessors in our church that you may also be a blessing to many people across the world. I believe it was by the reveletation of the Lord that you had to set up that website to minister to many souls. I would also love to receive any kind of teachings from you to help my leaders here. I believe we are living in the last days where the devil is out to fight the servants of God. It is for this reason I will commit you into my prayers that you will always be protected by the blood of Jesus Christ and God will always go a head of you to levelize all mountains that may want to exalt themselves before you and hinder you from seeing the blessings of the Lord and breakthrough in your ministry. That God will fill all the valleys with His glory in that you will walk in the glory of God. You are blessed and know you are covered in our prayers. keep also praying for us and that if it is God's will he may lead you here in Kenya sometimes to be a blessing to the people of this land. This land has gone through alot of stuff, We need the men and women of God with a really touching message to transform the lives of many. We will be more than willing to help plan a good meeting and invite people from all directions to be blessed by the Word God would have given you for them. It is really my desire that Kenya will again experience revival through the men and women God will send them in this land. Keep praying and see what the Lord leads. I have been in full time ministry for the last 6 years and God has been teaching me alot. Currently God has given me the desire to reach out to the dying churches and help strengthen them, this is by organizing the revival meetings and descipleship conferences with my husband, It is the desire of my heart to see people come to the Lord, Discipled/ trained and send out to reach to many. This can only be done if we join our efforts together, regardless of what we are and where we come from. I would be looking forward to hearing from you Yours Sister In Christ Evelyn Khakasa Arise Africa P.O Box 2245 Kitale 30200 Kenya, E. Africa Phone No. +254 733 253 708 It is not By Might nor by Power But by my Spirit says the Lord Zec 4:6, It is all possible with Christ. Just believe


It is really interesting. The Apostolic Network Vs Denomination thing. Should we further probe into it? Is it just the difference of gathering around a "thing" (statement of faith or purpose)? Or is there more to it? Can anyone answer please?

Will Riddle

Nelson, Great question. You are right that many have argued that the key difference between Apostolic networks and denominations is whether it is "relationship based" or "doctrine based." In my experience most apostolic networks are built around a strong personality. This means they rise and fall with the person. When the person falls, moves on or dies, it becomes something else. This may actually be OK. It means that churches feel more free to "follow the cloud" of God's leading at the time. For example, many of the guys now following Bill Johnson and Bethel are guys that originally followed John Wimber in the Vineyard. They feel free to go with what they see God doing now. To the extent that Apostolic Networks promote organic "bottom up" activity, they promote freedom and growth. To the extent that they promote control by a single leader I think they can slow growth, in just the same way that a denomination slows growth by instituting a hierarchy.

Jerry Bolton

thanks. But, don't Apostolic Networks have a Statement of Faith and denoms have a shared mission or purpose(or at least appear to). Are not we all to follow the Great Commission? I'm familiar with Global Legacy and went to a conf. last Nov. at Bethel - Redding. I considered doing their LDP(Leadership Development Program), but have not as of yet. I joined the IPHC(International Pentecostal Holiness Church) a couple years ago and was ordained July 11th. They have become very network oriented over the last decade or so. I know they have a heavy emphasis on church planting, and have for some years. As some have said, they are the least like a denomination and still a denomination of any there is. They (some time ago) changed their 'Headquarters' to a Resource Development Center to emphasize their perspective to support the local churches instead of the local churches supporting them. I have seen a typical(I suppose) denom when I worked with my father-in-law in the United Methodist Church. It also seems that many are connecting with networks and still staying in their denom. good to hear form you. i've got some other questions - but later. jerry

Will Riddle

The difference is that Apostolic Networks don't believe in being a denomination. lol. Actually, I do think they are somewhat different. In a denom, your unity is more around a shared Statement of Faith. In a network, the focus is more about a shared mission or purpose. Also, there aren't really any Charismatic denominations except perhaps the vineyard. Apostolic Networks vary quite a bit however. The Global Legacy guys we've met here are very different than the Every Nation guys I used to be connected to.

Jerry Bolton

I've heard a lot of talk of Apostolic Networks, but what's the real difference between an apostolic network and a denomination? Either can be good or corrupted. Isn't an apostolic network just a small "denominaton"? Some seem like it.

Davie Copp

No venom in the question, I just thought it interesting that he was the only one in your lists who was mentioned by race. I am part of KCN and lead the community in Long Beach CA called City At The Cross, which was formerly Bethany Chapel, the Latter Rain Church. Interesting site, just poking around! DFC

Will Riddle

Davie, Thanks for your question. No slight intended at all by identifying Dr. Woodroffe as black. I do think it is worth pointing out, however, since he is the only leader of a major apostolic movement who is. In general, I would think that is a positive thing.

Davie Copp

Why the description of Dr. Noel Woodroffe as a 'black man'? Is that relevant?

Linda Brimmer`

Is there any church other than the established denominaions in which e can rest assured that the pure Word of God is preached and indiviidiuals are not only prooting themselves?

Roger Bain

There's also the World Harvest Church Ministerial Fellowship

John Campbell

I'll try again, as the link vanished into thin air. Here is the link for the [Multiply Christian Network]( "Multiply Christian Network").


I read about your Apostolic Network. I am planting a church and have been involved with recently GCI. That is the network by Michael Fletcher. Email me. I enjoyed these post and would like to know more about your ministry. Thanks, Tommy

Subscribe to the
Kingdom Change Leader Letter!