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Timeless Tips on Missions from the Apostle Paul

Tue, Oct. 17, 2017 Posted: 12:03 PM


Marcy Hill is my guest blogger today. As one of my master's degree students, she recently wrote a discussion board post that nicely complements my last post called Timeless Tips on Evangelism from the Apostle Paul. Here are some of Marcy's brief insights into Paul's missionary methods offered to us with a bit of didactic flare:

In reviewing the course material for week two, seven characteristics of Paul’s missionary methods can be discussed.

1. Prepare: Paul was passionate and obedient when it came to his missionary work. His journeys required planning, which he was an active participant in. Consider Moreau, Corwin, and McGee’s assessment of Paul, “Occasionally he depended on the hospitality of God’s saints…or the contributions of various churches…, but most typically he generated his own income by making tents…”[1] Not only did Paul accept and obey God’s purpose for his life, he also personally contributed to the actualization of the missionary determinations.

2. People: Paul understood the importance of Christian community and fellowship. In each of Paul’s three major missionary journeys, he had traveling and ministerial companions. During his first mission, he traveled with Barnabas and John Mark.[2] His second mission Paul traveled with Silas, Timothy, Priscilla, Aquilla, and Luke.[3] Hence, Timothy and Luke were Paul’s travel companions during his third missionary journey.

3. Preach: Once Paul had established his missionary team, he set out to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ first in the Jewish synagogues and then to the gentiles.[4] Due to the fact that, “the Jews already possessed ‘the sonship, the glory, the covenant, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises’” [5] of God, Paul would begin his missionary endeavors by offering instruction, opportunity, and edification to the existing Jewish believers in the areas he visited. Upon that foundation, he then ventured out to evangelize “God-fearers” and pagans.[6]

4. Plant: If there is one missionary accomplishment that Paul is most well-known for is his planting of churches. He went to where people were and established communities and outreach opportunities for new converts for the sake of kingdom growth and sustenance.[7]

5. Pursuit: Once a church was planted, Paul move on to locations of greater need. However, he pursued the churches he planted with follow-up visits, letters, establishment of leadership, and prayer.[8] Paul did not abandon nor disconnect from the fruits of his labor.

6. Protean: Paul was highly adaptable during his missionary life.[9] He kept the Gospel message in tact while tailoring the delivery in ways that would be best received by his audiences and he relied on and obeyed the prompting of the Holy Spirit.[10] Though Paul was steadfast in his message and beliefs, he was flexible in the practicalities of his missions.

7. Persecution: Suffering, rejection, and conflict was a pervasive part of Paul’s ministry. Not only was there external strife amid his missions, there was also internal strife.[11] However, Paul maintained an eternal perspective and chose joy, peace, and faith inside of hardship.[12]

In each of the above characteristics, Paul demonstrates spiritual tenacity and resolve, human experiences and emotion, and mental fortitude and understanding. These attributes highlight Paul’s discipleship as “sacrificial”, “relational”, and “transformational”, as well as his willingness to teach others how to be disciples.[13] Each of the above seven methods is replicable and can serve as a formula for contemporary missionaries for the edification and expansion of God’s kingdom.
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[1] A. Scott Moreau, Gary R. Corwin and Gary B. McGee, Introducing World Missions: A Biblical, Historical, and Practical Survey (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2015), 63.
[2] Acts 13:2, 5.
[3] Acts 15: 40, 16:3, 15-18.
[4] Arthur F. Glasser, “The Apostle Paul and the Missionary Task,” in Perspectives on the World Christian Movement, ed. Ralph Winter and Steven C. Hawthorne (Pasadena: William Carey Library, 2009), 151.; Moreau et al, 2015, 61.
[5] Glasser, 2009, 151.
[6] Ibid., 151.
[7] Ibid., 151; Titus 1:5.
[8] Moreau et. al., 2015, 62-64.
[9] Ibid., 64.
[10] Ibid., 62; 1 Corinthians 9:22.
[11] Acts 15.
[12] Glasser, 2009, 152-153; Philippians 3:8.
[13] Dave Earley and Rod Dempsey, Disciple Making Is . . . : How to Live the Great Commission with Passion and Confidence (Nashville: B&H Publishers, 2013. Accessed August 27, 2017).

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Since meeting Christ at age 16, João (but you can call him John) has had one driving passion: to glorify God! He's a “Great Commission Entrepreneur”, passionate about starting and leading anything — mission agencies, churches, businesses — that helps fulfill the Great Commission. He loves to speak, teach, preach and write about God's glory in all areas of life and among all peoples of the world. His work has appeared in Christianity Today and The Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, among others. He holds degrees in sociology and practical theology, specializations in systematic theology and entrepreneurship, and doctorates in intercultural studies (D.Int.St.) and religious studies (Ph.D.). He lives in Curitiba, Brazil, with his wife and two teenage children. You can contact him at joao.mordomo@gmail.com; find out more at www.johnmordomo.com; link directly to this blog at www.llvd.net; and follow him on:

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João Mordomo