The first detailed account of the development of an apostolic network is found in Acts 14:21-23, when Paul and Barnabas were returning from their initial trip, going through the cities they had previously evangelized, appointing elders and committing the churches to the Lord in prayer and fasting. It can be understood that this process included instructions being given and apostolic authority being exercised. After the trip was completed Paul and Barnabas went back to Antioch, their sending apostolic base. A further and decisive step that seals the birthing of this early networking venture was taken some time later when Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us go back and visit the brothers in all the towns where we preached the word of the Lord and see how they are doing.” (Acts 15:36). From that moment on, the rest of the account of the book of Acts is a description of the birthing of geographical communities of believers that were linked together into apostolic networks.
Even though Paul remained the central figure of the movement, more and more apostles were added, having either been trained with Paul or having arrived from other journeys. We see not only Paul’s sphere expanded, but other apostles’ spheres as well. Local churches multiplied and appeared everywhere. As they continued developing, not without growing pains, true apostolic centres were formed that had a strong influence that reached beyond their own borders. Corinth and Ephesus are examples of this, or even Thessalonica that became a model to all the believers in the provinces of Macedonia and Achaia. (1 Thess. 1:7)
Today the times have changed, but the original pattern is still relevant. Having local churches become apostolic centres, linked together through 21st century apostles and their teams, presents the most potent framework for sustaining the end-time activation of the kingdom dynamics. Just as the seven mountains that influence society (Religion, family, media, government, economy, education, arts and entertainment) are not stand-alone hills, apostolic centres cannot afford the luxury of existing independently from one another. Having a global vision is one of the characteristic of apostles, and apostolic centres must carry that same DNA.