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Paul’s Process of Missions

Paul’s Process of Missions—Acts 14:21-23

Acts 14:21-23 And when they had preached the gospel to that city, and had taught many, they returned again to Lystra, and to Iconium, and Antioch, Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God. And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed

In this passage of Scripture we see not only Paul’s thoughts on the Great Commission, but also his plan to fulfill the Great Commission. This week we are going to look at the following verses and see not only how Paul had a process for missions, but also what our process for missions should be as well!

  1. Preached the Gospel

The first thing that Paul did when he went to a town was to preach the Gospel! He did all he could to get the Gospel to anyone and everyone that would be willing to listen. He knew that the only thing that could change a city and a country was the Gospel. He was fulfilling the first part of the Great Commission by preaching the Gospel! As we go into new countries and cities, once we have the language, the first thing we must do is preach the Gospel. We must do all we can to get people to come and hear the Gospel! Cast your net wide, pray and ask God to bring people, and then preach the Gospel! As you preach the Gospel, you will have people turn away, but some will hear and be saved! So we must first preach the Gospel.

2. Taught Them

As Paul was still preaching the Gospel, he then took time to teach them. He was discipling them and teaching them to observe all things– like the Great Commission said! He was helping them to establish a walk with God and helping them to become the Christians they needed to become. He would take them as far as they were willing to go! As we go into new areas with the Gospel we must not only preach the Gospel, but teach and disciple people as they come to Christ! We must help them grow in their walk with God. We must teach them what living for Christ is and how Christians should act. This starts from the basics all the way up to teaching them doctrine and how to teach others!

3. Trained Them

After he preached and taught them, he then found time to train the ones who were willing to be trained. He was helping to not only to make sure they knew they were following Christ, but also helping them to realize that now that they were believers, they had a job to do. That job was helping to fulfill the Great Commission. As we disciple, we then transition into training people to serve God. All Christians should be serving God in some capacity, but there are others who God will direct and work in their lives to be preachers and teachers. We, as Paul did, must train these men how to serve in ministry. How to preach and how to lead their churches. We must leave churches with strong leadership and also leave them with trained men! 

4. Ordained Them

Paul then took the men he had trained and ordained them. After you train men, there comes a point when you ordain them. This will come after a time of you teaching and training them. You know these men by now and know their heart and desire to serve God with their lives. You ordain them and you put them into churches to serve and to preach. You allow them to grow and work in the church.

5. Turn It Over to Them

Once Paul had done all he could, he then turned the churches over to the pastors. He had trained them and the church. He also left strong leadership in the churches to make sure that if the pastor strayed, the leaders of the church could step in and lead the church in the right way. At some point as a missionary, we must turn the church over to the nationals. By this point though, they should be trained, and ordained, and also be self supporting! You then turn the church over to them! This is an exciting and nervous time, because you pray and hope they keep going in the right direction, but that is why you train not only pastors but the church leadership in the Biblical ways a church should run! You then turn it over to the nationals and give them to God and then let them run and grow the church! You do not keep lording over them. It is their own church at this point! However, by this point you should have plenty others that you are training and working on planting again!

From this passage we see Paul’s process of missions and planting churches. There is a great need in this world and we must follow this method to see the world reached with the Gospel! We must preach the Gospel, train nationals, train leadership, ordain pastors, and the turn the church over to the nationals! Let’s get busy reaching the world with the Gospel!

To help see the world reached with the gospel in this generation, check out the Center for World Evangelism!