I have been asked several times about the difference between an apostolic or kingdom church and a Full Gospel charismatic church. After all, they are the same, aren’t they? No, not at all. Here are some comparisons. (Full Gospel Charismatic church will be FGC. Apostolic Kingdom will be AK.)
Generally an FGC church will be focused like most other churches on outreach of winning the lost and discipling. The discipling is more into the tenets of their expression. The AK will be more focused on the development of people and their placement into effective function in the local assembly. FGC will focus on conversion of all souls and will focus on presenting the gospel of salvation. AK will be focused that all people will feel the weight of the Kingdom and its influences. AK knows the Kingdom automatically demands an answer and decisions will have to be made.
The structure of an FGC is more traditional and will be composed of a board and elders who make decisions. It may or may not have a voting system. Involvement in the ministry is generally attained after several months and is based more on attendance. AK will be composed of a team of leaders making decisions together. A board may exist but only to be a legal corporation. Involvement is generally very quick and is based on discernment and heart connection with the overall vision.
FGC generally align to a network of churches connected by doctrine. Many times this is a denomination. Outside alignments are seldom seen and this is reflected in the ministries coming through. Most of the time they are from the same camp. AK will align apostolically and prophetically and not so much doctrinally. AK will be relationship driven and the ministries coming through will be in relationship more so than the same camp. AK does not fear the variety of ways of ministry as much as the FGC.
This is probably one of the greatest differences. FGC has a senior pastor. Generally they are charismatic and probably have a certain degree of a teaching gift. As I stated earlier, it is an eldership driven leadership made up of those of the congregation and decisions are made based more from a business perspective than a faith position. AK will have an apostolic leader (not necessarily an apostle) who has a certain grace to lead others into Kingdom dynamics. A team is formed of fivefold type leaders who will speak by visionary perspectives and lead by faith.
The focus in an FGC will be more on life discipling and family focuses. Programs will be put in place to minister to the needs of the family and this will be reflected in special gatherings for men and women, youth and kids. The AK will be focused more on the Kingdom than the family and trust that if Kingdom dynamics are put in place, then the family will automatically be taken care of. The outworking of this is the family being together to experience spiritual life as a unit. Activation is put upon the family and development of gifts started at a young age.
FGC messages are culturally relevant and again family focused. Removing injustice is part of the message but ends up being more about ministering to injustice than removing it. AK will have more revelatory messages and of course Kingdom dynamics. Messages will be on reforming culture to remove injustices instead of ministering within culture. While FGC will be “culturally relevant” (trying to relate to culture) AK will be “counter cultural” (knowing that Kingdom culture will change current culture).
FGC will have more of a standard approach to worship. Songs will have more of a focus about God instead of Who He is. Songs will also have a self focus and will be better known. Song services are more planned and have a set time. With AK, the songs are more focused on God Himself and His great works. Very few songs are about self. Songs are more from unknown artists because the message they carry is fresher. Spontaneous worship and creating of songs is what AK is known for. The worship has no real set time factor.
FGC has a group set aside and recognized as the intercessors. AK looks at every person as called to intercede. Prayer for people at altar calls may have a team in a FGC, but generally it is the senior leader and their spouse. AK will have a team or see everyone as being able to pray and minister to others.
FGC will take people through classes associated with what they believe before they truly activate people. Time factors and certain things need to be attained before a person is released or put in place, to reduce possible mistakes. AK will activate people pretty quickly and will train them as they do ministry. They are not concerned about mistakes but are more concerned about a person trying than being perfect in how they do things.
FGC has spiritual community based on relationships around the belief system. Most spiritual communities are pretty healthy but can also be more surface type relationships. Smaller churches will have greater community. In larger churches, the community will be several communities within it based around the programs. AK will develop a community of honor and tightness in relationships that can be enlarged as it grows. They will have solid, deep meaningful relationships that build a sense of family. This family is more than those in the room but also extends to those outside of the local gathering and into all those they are in relationship with in other ministries.
The outward expression of FGC will be set missionaries they help support in part. Locally missions will be a helps type ministry of feeding the homeless, crisis pregnancy centers, and other outreach programs. This could also extend into foreign mission trips where the same types of ministry occur such as erecting/repairing church buildings, working in orphanages, etc. The AK approach in missions is not so much as supporting but sending. They too, might be involved in the same local outreaches but are looked at as more of being sent with an assignment. This is extended to the foreign missions as well. Being sent with a specific assignment, the helps ministry is not seen in other nations but leadership training, conferences and educational thrusts are primary.
As we can see, there is a difference to both types of ministries. There needs to be more of a balance. As I see it, the main thing to be added to the AK model is local outreach. I think many Apostolic Kingdom Churches are hesitant because of associating with an old model. The main thing that stands out in the apostolic / Kingdom churches that I did not cover is a more consistent life-giving flow. To me, this is the primary difference and is why so many churches need to transition to this model.