The ministry gifts revealed in the life of Jesus, and given to the church, as the “ascension gifts” are revealed in Eph. 4 and Romans 12, and 1 Cor. 12-14, describes the reality that the indwelling Christ, exercises gifts, which are given at the discretion of the Spirit, so that the work of the ministry can go forward. New Testament itinerant ministry, is that ministry, where believers go forth in the power of the Spirit to advance the Kingdom of God. The book of Acts as well as epistles carry on the missional teams concept that Jesus used in sending out the 70 and the 120 in the gospels. The main difference between the two is that the 70 and 120 were going forth to announce the coming of the Kingdom in Jesus, to the Judean population, whereas Paul, Peter and other apostles, were sent out to both the Judeans and the Gentiles, to announce not only the coming of the Kingdom through Jesus, but the establishment of Christian communities of the King, in each region and major city in the Roman empire.
Itinerant ministry involves teams, such as Peter and John Mark, Paul and Barnabas, as well as other apostolic teams, that include all the ministry gifts in persons who are labouring together to see the Kingdom of God established in a city. It is no different today. Many missional Christians go to other cities, and regions and nations, often in bi-vocational ministry, to win the lost, teach and impart, lay the foundations of life in Christ and community, release gifts, and then leave, and let the leaders in that community give proper biblical oversight, and only return to give support and encouragement, and at times to exhort and correct. Itinerant teams are only in a region for a temporary time and season. The longest time span that Paul spent was two and a half years in Ephesus, and the shortest was less than a month.
Today, there are itinerant ministry teams, of people who are either self supporting, or get a combination of financial support and self support, and go as a team to city, and spend time there, some doing the work of evangelism, and some discipling the new believers, teaching and training them, establishing a new relational Kingdom community, and then depart and let them experience that community life in and around Christ. They usually return to express support and encouragement, and raise up other itinerant teams that will continue that process in other cities and towns.
The challenge with regional house church networks, is to co-labour and partner together, to see the furtherance of the Kingdom of God through the planting of house churches and house church networks. That entails sharing finances, resources, people and property, to establish another outpost for the Kingdom of God. Some today, will go to a city within an hour away, and go for weekends at a time, and spend time with new believers, and to train and mentor people, so that in a short time, after experiencing and growing in community relational body life, the itinerant teams will move on.
We believe that there is a need for a multiplicity and diversity of itinerant teams, so that the Kingdom of God will grow and expand, as we co-labour with God and others, in fulfilling the Missio Dei [mission of God].