My name is Dumas A. Harshaw, Jr., Ph.D.,
founder and executive director of
I have been in the pastoral ministry and a professor of theology for more than 30 years, serving churches and seminaries in California, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina. My passion is to grow as a prayer warrior and to encourage others to experience the power of prayer in their lives, vocations and ministries. If you’d like to know more about me, click here.
Reflections on the Apostolic Ministry Dumas Alexander Harshaw, Jr.
Shepherding is a key element in Christian ministry and is still a pivotal analogy for the care of God’s people and spiritual leadership in the contemporary community of faith. The pastoral office is the post-modern representative of Christ for the edification and guidance of the church. Christian ministry begins with the ministry of Jesus Christ. Through his teaching and powerful Spirit filled ministry Jesus called individuals into discipleship, mentored them and then sent them out into the world with the gospel message and promised them his continuing presence and power. (Matthew 4:18-20) They made up what is known as the apostolate. Jesus called them, Jesus prepared them, and Jesus commissioned them (Matthew 10:1-20). As Christ was sent into the world for the salvation of the human family his disciples are sent into the world as ambassadors carrying the message of God’s redemptive love. (John 17:18)
The church has been built on the foundations laid by the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the foundation stone. (Ephesians 2:20) Many believe that God is still calling, commissioning and sending apostles to the world in order to do the work of ministry established by Jesus Christ and carried forward by the early disciples and apostles. It is in this vein that I accept God’s call upon my life to be a father in the faith, a teacher of the Word, an ambassador for the gospel of Jesus Christ , and an apostle of prayer and encouragement for the Body of Christ. I am standing in the great tradition of the original apostles and those whom Jesus called, commissioned and sent for his work of ministry and for his work of expanding the Kingdom of God in the world.
As I accept and engage this very clear call of the Lord for me, and follow the Word of God and the leadership of God’s Holy Spirit, I need and desire the prayers of God’s people.
This move of obedience and faith, is also closely aligned with the call to Christian leadership from the 20th century mystic and theologian, Howard Washington Thurman, who issued the call for “apostles of sensitiveness.” This treasured vocation in life entails maintaining a sense of what is vital, a basic foundational awareness of life and its unlimited potential at every level of experience. Walter Earl Fluker in his book Ethical Leadership: The Quest for Character, Civility, and Community, (pages 21-22) says the human project for Thurman is the quest for meaning, understanding, and purpose in the midst of tragic existence- and it is this quest, for him, that marked the primal center of innocence and becoming. “The transition from innocence to knowledge is always perilous and fraught with hazard,” writes Thurman. (“When Knowledge Comes,” in The Inward Journey, pages 16-17) This transition from innocence to knowledge marks the way in which Thurman understood the encounter with the other as simultaneously a quest for self-recognition and understanding and the source of transformative action in the world. For him, spirituality is “the tutor” or “the unseen model” by which one structures the facts of his or her experience. Here the questions of identity, purpose, and method are combined in relation to the individual’s social context.
I believe this call falls in line with what John and Paula Sandford describes as The Elijah Task: A Call to Today’s Prophets, in which case the prophet is one whose mouth has been touched to speak for God (Isaiah 6:7; Jeremiah 1:9), one who admonishes, warns, directs, intercedes, teaches, and counsels, along with standing at the walls to see what the Lord is doing that he or she may call the Body of Christ to respond appropriately (Ezekiel 33:7).
Genesis 17:1,9; 20:17-18
Acts 1:8; 2:42-43
1 Corinthians 4:1,15; 6:19; 12:28
2 Corinthians 5:20
1 Peter 2:5
2 Peter 3:1-2
Pastoral Theology: Essentials of Ministry, Thomas C. Oden
Apostles 101: Emerging Apostle & Apostolic Centers, Jonathan Ferguson
Modern-Day Apostles: Operating in Your Apostolic Office and Anointing, Che’ Ahn
The Apostolic Ministry: Exploring the Apostolic Office and Gift, Roderick Levi Evans
“Prayer is the channel of all blessings and the secret of power and life.”
“The spirit is stronger than genius, faith is greater than learning.”