Monday, November 2, 2009


In Acts 14:21-26 we see two phases of Paul’s ministry. The initial phase is what we’ll refer to as Christian Formation. In this phase Paul preached the Gospel and people were brought into the Kingdom of God. Paul used a variety of means and venues to accomplish Christian Formation. He often preached/taught in synagogues, homes, in the market places, rented halls and occasionally one-on-one. A mission-focused reproducing church needs to be aware of the resources that are available for communicating the Gospel. Though this aspect of Christian Formation is constantly changing with the culture the goal remains the same.

It’s significant to note that Paul went back to places he previously visited in order to strengthen converts and to encourage them. The lesson for us is that over time people always need encouragement and a fresh sense of vision. There are too many things to distract and drain us from the overall objective of taking the Gospel to the nations. Therefore, those we lead will always be in need of encouragement and fresh direction.

The second phase of Paul’s ministry is that of Church Formation. Believers were first congregated together, allowing for the expression of their new found faith in Jesus. Community is always the New Testament context for the expression of belief. Relationships are a necessary ingredient of a believer’s faith being worked out both internally and externally. Relationships are not the flip side of being missional. A church that is truly missional must also be relational in order to provide a context for people to engage in mission.

Secondly, leaders were appointed within the churches. Before leaving a city Paul and Barnabas would appoint elders to lead the fledgling church plant (Acts 14:23). For a church to be a multiplying, reproducing church, gifted leadership is essential. Current leaders must consistently be on the lookout for new, emerging leaders who can be given the responsibility to lead. Christian Formation creates the need for Church Formation, which gives rise to Christian Formation, which creates the need for more Church Formation. In the end you have a dynamic local church that is fully engaged in mission, reproducing itself over and over again.

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