While the answer to these questions seems obvious, what I am seeing more and more is organizations, institutions, and churches assuming this role. In many ways we are moving in the direction of usurping the role of our Lord in assigning people to tasks, territories and mission fields.
In Wolfgang Simson's Starfish Manifesto many pages are spent defining, defending and restoring the long lost and highly misunderstood (and abused) role of the apostolic.
I would be quick to say that not all missionaries are apostolic. Most in fact are teacher/pastoral, evangelistic, or administrative-types. But if one accepts that the apostolic and prophetic roles are still legitimate and needed roles in the planting and establishment of Jesus' Church and if, God continues to appoint in the church, "...first apostles, second prophets, third teachers..." then what right do we have to usurp this appointment process?
We cannot go where we want to go and do apostolic work at our own will and whim wherever we feel, but we have to learn to respect the territoriality of God’s plans. [Starfish Manifesto, p.230]
Paul clearly establishes that apostolic work is measured out by God according to geographical territories, a mission field, a “man’s territory,” magistrates,a parish in this sense of a geographical sphere of influence. I call these apostolic jurisdictions, an area of legitimate apostolic function. And just like human governors or the police have only delegated authority in certain political districts...the same is true for spiritual work of the Kingdom of God. It follows specific geographic or ethnic borders as it is meted out by God (and never by a human) to certain people in order to become their kanon, their legitimate field of work, their turf. [p.230-231]
Apostolic jurisdictions, the kanons measured out by God today for apostolic purposes, can encompass geographical areas, often with natural borders like deserts, rivers, seas, lakes, valleys, and mountains, or can encompass an ethnic group...is a classical apostolic task in the advancing of the Kingdom of God. [p.233-234]
It grieves me to think that what is driving our missions enterprise is vision by a few for all; rather than regional, apostolic vision. Stan Meador writes,
The apostle’s calling will be to a people or place. The apostle’s vision will relate to that place or people. The apostle’s vision will be larger than any one “church”. Denominationalism does a great deal to complicate the work of the true apostle today. Many churches follow party lines, denominational leadership, and have no ears to hear the voice and vision of the true apostle. Centuries ago we lost the truth of the interdependence that exists between apostles and local churches.
So what do you think about apostolic jurisdiction? Is God still the one appointing, or do we place people in positions based upon predetermined criteria?