What were the purposes of an apostle?
The apostolic ministry started with the original apostles we read about in the New Testament. There was a leadership gift given to the church by God that still functions today (Ephesians 4:11).
Apostles were disciples of Jesus who walked with him during his physical ministry on earth, or like Paul, had an experience in which Jesus taught them personally. They had a direct line to Jesus, which was why they could lead the church and write Scripture.
But there is a distinction between the original apostles and the apostolic gift. The original apostles were the only ones who could write Scripture. Once they finished writing the Canon of the Bible is closed. This is why we don’t have new Bible books today.
The original apostles also began new Christian works, like building churches and founding them throughout the Roman Empire. Everywhere they went, to each city, they began a new work. But they also continued to pastor all of these founded works. Out of these experiences we gain the New Testament writings.
Apostles today have the same ministry of beginning new works. We call the missionaries. They go to places the gospel has never been preached or even heard. They start from the ground up and begin these new works that brings souls into God’s kingdom.
Despite having to learn cultures and languages, dealing with misunderstandings of the gospel message, and other issues, missionaries are called with this special gift of apostleship. They face death, persecution, rejection, and a host of other issues overseas and here on the homeland.