Missional Communities are Apostolic

InterVarsity's missional communities are described as "apostolic," but what do we mean by this term? 


Apostolic describes the missional communities and the leaders that are sent out to plant the gospel in unengaged areas or people groups in order to establish new communities of Jesus-followers.1

Why is it important?

We have all been sent by Jesus. The word apostle literally means, “sent one.”  (In fact, “mission” comes from the same biblical word.)  The gospel of John shows that Jesus was deeply aware of his “sent-ness” when he stated, “I am not alone.  I stand with the Father, who sent me.”  He extended his sent-ness to the disciples.  “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”

It’s our awareness that we’ve been sent in Jesus’ name that propels us outward with the hope of the gospel and the desire to see every people group gain access to God’s kingdom.  We want our chapters to become apostolic environments, embracing a big vision, and empowering students and faculty to reach every corner of the campus and every campus in the city.

Application for Leaders

  • In Christ in intimacy with God:
    Understand your identity as one who belongs to Jesus and is being sent by Jesus.  To whom has Jesus sent you?  What community on campus has He given you compassion for?  What would it look like to love, serve and live in the good news of the Kingdom with that community? Seek the answers to these questions in prayer, together with others in your chapter.
  • Like Christ in character:
    Like Jesus, we see individuals as part of a larger “village.”  As you develop your own Apprentices for leadership, try to meet their extended family and networks.  Help them with spiritual conversations and prayerful encounters with these people.  Practice network mapping with them often.
  • With Christ in mission:
    Understand that Jesus was the first “Sent One,” sent by the Father with boldness and authority. Know that Jesus sends you with his authority and boldness to call people to take their next step towards Jesus. What kinds of invitations can you provide to others to help them take the next step towards Jesus? Practice calls to faith and model and debrief them with your apprentices.

Application for Chapters

  • In Christ in intimacy with God:
    A strong sense of calling (and being sent to the campus) comes from times in prayer around campus. Practice all kinds of prayer such as prayer walks, discernment prayer, or all-chapter prayer for places and communities on campus.
  • Like Christ in character:
    The chapter accepts the spiritual responsibility and burden for the campus.  How can each student and small group in the chapter identify and begin praying for their networks as a mission field?
  • With Christ in mission:
    The chapter sees itself as an apostolic movement empowered and sent by Jesus to reach all corners of campus with the gospel. How are the vision, structures and people of the chapter focusing on reaching the entire campus as a mission field? Display a campus map at chapter events and use it to cast vision, launch new ministries, and deepen prayer for the entire campus.

--by Shawn Young

 1 Some church traditions differ on how the title or office of Apostle continues to function today. For our purposes in a campus ministry context, it’s most helpful to use apostolic as an adjective — describing the people, leaders and the mindset that exists in a missional community. 

Missional communities are incarnational, evangelistic, and apostolic. Learn more about these three characteristics and their implications for InterVarsity leaders and chapters.