Missions in Acts Part 9: Relationship Continued
Relationships Continued-Acts 15:36; 18:23
After Paul had commended the believers, he then left and went on his way. But there was always a desire to continue a relationship with them. Paul desired to keep in touch with the churches that he had planted. He desired to see how God was working in their lives and their ministries.
We see this first in Acts 15:36. Paul and Barnabas desired to go back and see how the churches were doing. They wanted to know what was going on. In Paul’s time, it was a lot more difficult to stay in touch. The only way was through a letter, personal visit or sending someone to check on them and report back. But Paul made it a habit of continually checking up and continuing a relationship with all the churches he planted.
I believe, as missionaries, this is important for us to do. Once you have established a church, ordained a pastor and then chartered that church you do not have much say because by that time it should be a self-sustaining, supporting and propagating church. But you should keep a relationship with all the churches you have planted. This will allow you to see how God is working in their lives and ministries. This will also allow you to help correct doctrinal issues that may arise.
In the day and time we live in, this is easy to do from text messaging, phone calling all the way to Skyping with them while you may be out of the country. Again, this relationship is not so that you can lord over them, but rather, that you can continue to encourage them and help them to continue to grow in the Lord. This is what Paul would do. He would keep in contact with the churches. He would encourage, instruct and rebuke them if needed. He had a relationship with them to help them to continue to grow and minister for Christ. If we keep the right relationship with the churches we plant we will also be able to help encourage, grow, rejoice and rebuke them if need be. Just remember you want to have a strong relationship with the churches you start, but if they have been chartered and are on their own, you cannot force a relationship with them.