If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, take a team

by Brian Sauder

Article 3 in the Apostolic Series

Let’s meet one of the modern-day apostles! Rajvir* was a successful young businessman in Asia, especially in the insurance industry. He received commission income for many years after he was called out of the business world into church planting. One of his business enterprises was a school that he started. His call from God to church planting in 1996 motivated him and his wife to start a church at that very school building. This church plant was surrounded by seven Hindu temples. In one year’s time they had one hundred people in the church. I personally have been there to see this first church, which is still thriving today.

Rajvir started to receive small-group materials from Home Fellowship International, an organization started by Harold Zimmerman, who was a member of DOVE Westgate Church at the time. Rajvir and his growing team started to use these materials to train church planters and to plant churches. They trained a new group of leaders every year. Some leaders would plant two or three churches. On an average year, ten to fifteen new churches were planted in villages where there were no existing churches and no Christian influence. “We never stop training the leaders,” Rajvir explains. “If we pour out our lives into leaders, they will respond.”

Rajvir says, “God has strategies, and so do we. In our non-Christian communities, literacy is a problem. So, we teach children to read and assign the Bible as a textbook. Of course, many of the children become Christians.”

Rajvir’s team has a heart for the community. They have found that women are very effective in talking about the gospel in their culture. So they focus on women as evangelists and involve them in leadership based on how God is leading in a specific location. He further explains, “Because of persecution from other religions, we have to discern the seasons. We need to know when it is time to work and when it is time to wait.”

It is inspiring to be around Rajvir and listen to him speak. He declares, “Luke 15:10 states there is joy in heaven when one sinner repents. Our job is to make heaven joyful!”

How do we know Rajvir is an apostle? He is training leaders. These leaders are pioneering and planting churches where there is great darkness. He is unassuming and humble, but there is fire burning inside of him. Now after twenty-seven years of ministry, hundreds of churches and thousands of people are serving the Lord because of his sacrifice.

Apostolic Teams

When someone wants to launch an invasion on a given territory or nation, the first thing they do is gather the team or troops that are needed. Depending on the task ahead, this team will vary in composition and size. It has been said if you want to go fast, then go alone, but if you want to go far, then take a team with you. There is no hope of success without a team.

In choosing the disciples, Jesus wanted to establish both a relational base that would be a prototype for future apostolic ministries and a missional unit capable of carrying out the mandate to establish the Kingdom of God on earth. These two goals can be seen in Mark 3:14-15 which indicates that Jesus appointed the twelve that they might “be with him” (a relational base) “and that he might send them out to preach and to have authority to drive out demons” (a missional base).

Apostolic Teams vs. Teams of Apostles

In his book Apostolic Centers, Alain Caron suggests that Jesus’ team included more than those whose primary gift was that of apostle. Luke 8:1 indicates the twelve apostles traveled with Jesus from town to town, but the next two verses show us that there were also quite a few women with the team who were supporting Jesus out of their own means. For this reason, it is more accurate to talk about an apostolic team surrounding Jesus rather than a team of apostles. Apostles don’t work alone; they usually surround themselves with apostolic teams. This understanding also fits very well for the teams that Paul developed in his ministry.

Paul very rarely worked by himself; most the time we see him with companions. On his first trip he left with Barnabas. On his second trip, he started with Silas and soon added Timothy. Acts 16:1-3 indicates that sometime after that, Luke joined his team. How do we know this? In verse ten the author of the book suddenly includes himself in the story by using the pronoun “we.”

Later we see Paul traveling to Ephesus with Priscilla and Aquila on his team. Neither Priscilla nor Aquila were called “apostles” in the Bible. Paul left them in Ephesus and they soon added Apollos to their apostolic team. Apollos was called an apostle. From this, we see that forming apostolic teams of well-developed leaders was the preferred model as the early church grew.

The composition of the apostolic teams included a variety of gifts. Paul was the main leader, but there were also other apostles like Timothy, Titus, and many others whose roles were not clearly defined. We see enough variation to conclude that an apostolic team is a multi-gifted company of people surrounding an apostle on an apostolic mission.

This is true for the apostolic leadership team that leads DOVE International. Larry Kreider, DOVE’s founder and international director, is primarily an apostle. Some of the other leaders on the International Apostolic Council function primarily as teachers or prophets. The same apostolic-led, multi-gifted team model is used in the many DOVE apostolic teams found in various countries and regions throughout the world.

It is important to note that an apostle is able to raise up and release all the fivefold ministries and sees the value of them functioning together to advance the Kingdom of God. To use the analogy of a gasoline car engine, we can say that great horsepower is released when all eight cylinders of the engine are functioning correctly. (Upcoming articles will develop this idea more fully.)

Apostles desire to include others with different gifts on their teams. They know the team will be stronger because of this. They are not intimidated when other leaders function in their gifts. They welcome this model, because advancing the cause of Christ is the most important thing for them. New Testament leadership and ministries are teams, not individuals. Apostles know team building is a foundational component needed for the Kingdom of God to advance.

In the next article we will examine a pivot that takes place in the second part of the book of Acts of the Apostles. In chapter thirteen, the Holy Spirit deploys a new strategy and develops a base of operations for apostles and their teams who then go out and establish communities of believers all around the then-known world. What happens could be identified as apostolic explosion and expansion. This shift is both significant and impactful. These new communities stay connected through organic relational networks and have a tremendous impact on society, releasing great power for transformation.


Alain Caron. Apostolic Centers: Shifting the Church, Transforming the World. Vancouver, Canada: Arsenal Press, 2014.

*Not his real name.