When we posted our first blog post, we mentioned that we would be sharing some of our kairos moments with you – points of conflict, confusion, clarity, or celebration. As we have been laying new foundations together over this past year, we have both learned new things about ourselves, and one another. Tiffany and I are gifted in really different ways. I am primarily gifted as an apostle. The word apostle just means “one who is sent.” Those who are gifted as apostles are gifted at launching out into the frontier. They have an appetite for adventure, starting new things, and designing systems for strategic and sustainable impact.
Tiffany, on the other hand, is primarily gifted as a prophet. She is drawn towards prayer and meditation, as well as ministering to those who are often overlooked and disadvantaged. She has a heart for knowing God and experiencing his presence.
These differences may not sound very big, but when you lock arms with someone to accomplish a certain task, the differences really start to come out into the open. For example, when we went to the public library this past weekend, Tiffany ended up spending a lot of time in the prayer section, and I spent a lot of time in the leadership and organization section. Something as small as this reveals how different we really are.
Apostles Working with Prophets: An Interview with Tim
Because we value being real and authentic, we wanted to share some points of tension we have experienced between our “A” and “P” and how those tensions have created moments of conflict and clarity for us. But instead of listing those things out in bullet points, we wanted to package it in an interview.
Tim, how did you discover you had an apostolic gifting?
I had a pattern of starting new things and approaching problems with what would be characterized as systems thinking. But the first time I realized I had an apostolic gifting was while reading Hirsch and Frost’s book The Shaping of Things to Come. I always thought I was kind of weird because I did not fit the stereotypical profile of a pastor, but after reading that book, I finally understood that I wasn’t weird. I was an apostle, which meant I was not primarily wired for ministry and leadership at the settlement, I was wired for moving into the frontier and starting new ventures.
How would you describe the way this gifting has been contributing to what you are doing with OneLife?
We are in a unique situation right now in that we are not currently partnered with a denomination. This has required us to build some things, like a reputation, from scratch. When we moved to Nashville, we only knew 2-3 people. One of the primary challenges has been meeting new people and building social capital. My apostolic skills have given me insight and initiative for exploring and entering already existing pockets of people, as well as developing new relationships. That would be an entrepreneurial energy that I have been able to channel for our efforts here. In addition to building social capital, I’ve also been building systems capital. For example, our E-book and Prospectus are things we developed in the past to help us communicate our vision to people. Most recently, I’ve been writing a discipling tool kit for us to use with our future core team, as well as developing content for the church website we are building.
What are some points of tension you have experienced as you work with Tiffany and her prophetic gifting, and how have those tensions helped you to mature as an apostle?
Wow, this is such a big question. I can think of so many examples, but here is the first one that comes to mind. A while back I was in one of my phases of being frustrated about how slow things were developing with the plant. I have met with literally hundreds of people over lunch and coffee since I have been in Nashville, but for some reason, we are still looking for our core team. My initial response was “We need to get out the whiteboard and start brainstorming about how to meet more people!” When I suggested to Tiffany that we have a whiteboard session about meeting more people, she asked me if I had prayed about the situation. My first thought was “What’s to pray about? We need to find people, so let’s find a way to do it.”
Tiffany is really good about seeking God for direction. It goes hand in glove with her prophetic gifting. I, on the other hand, do not have that kind of default response to situations. I look at a challenge and immediately come up with options for how to effectively engage it, assuming the missing link is a good strategy. I got frustrated with her that she was not as energetic about strategizing to meet more people.
Eventually, I decided to pray about it. I asked God (really I was lamenting) this question: When will we meet our core team? I felt like God said “You will, but not yet.” Then I was like “So what are we supposed to be doing then?” He then said “The discipling tool kit.” And I thought to myself “…really?” I then heard him say “You need a wineskin for the wine.” I knew what he was trying to teach me at that point. You see, I had totally stopped working on the tool kit and was focusing all my energies on meeting people. So in response to what God said, I cut way back on meeting people and have been focusing primarily on developing the tool kit.
Later on, a few days after I had that conversation with God, I started to appreciate even more what a gift Tiffany is to me and our efforts here. I need her prophetic sensibilities to help me stay grounded in God and his leading.
Where have you seen your apostolic gifting synergize with Tiffany’s prophetic gifting?
I think one of the ways this happens for us is through people. Tiffany picks up on things about people really quickly. One of the attributes of prophetic people is that they often perceive things way before other people do. When we meet new people together, I often check in with her to see if she sensed anything from the Lord. While I may be able to generate a lot of first time contacts with people, Tiffany is good about helping me discern the relational opportunities in front of me.
What is something you think might be helpful for other people to know about the apostolic gifting?
If an apostle is “one who is sent” then it implies someone is doing the sending. I have met plenty of people who are gifted as apostles. They have the hardwiring for entrepreneurship and systems thinking. But just because you are wired to be sent, does not mean you in fact are being sent. One of the things I have had to learn through the school of hard knocks is that just because I see an opportunity does not mean I am supposed to move on it. God is the one who sends me, I don’t send myself. Learning how to discern what originates with me and what originates with God is one of the reasons why I need to be equipped with prophetic skills and sensibilities. The more I mature in my gifting, the more I only want to be led by the Spirit, and not my own initiative.
Here is a post on prophets working with apostles.