Apostolic Movements

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.

Miscellaneous Networks

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.

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:

  • 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:

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.


  1. 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

  2. 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?

  3. 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.

  4. 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!


  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.


  8. 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?

    1. 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.

  9. 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

  10. 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 (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_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 (www.sovereigngraceministries.org – previously known as People of Destiny International). However, if you look at http://www.sgmsurvivors.com and http://www.sgmrefuge.com 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

  11. 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…

    1. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

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