Expanding Ministry Through Missions -- By: Gene Cunningham
CTSJ 8:4 (October 2002) p. 12
Expanding Ministry Through Missions
[*Editor's note: Gene Cunningham graduated from Arizona Bible College in Phoenix with a diploma. He then attended Central Baptist College in Conway, Arkansas, taking three years of Greek and Hebrew. He is the founder and director of Basic Training Bible Ministries and pastors Cross Road Bible Church in Perth, Western Australia. A major emphasis of his ministry is hand’s-on mission work in Africa, India, and Asia. His Web page is www.BasicTraining.org; email is [email protected]; and Gene’s postal addresses are P.O. Box 594, Kalamunda, Western Australia 6076, Australia, or P.O. Box 21773, Hot Springs, AR 71903, USA.]
The Decision that Changed History
Acts 16:6–10 tells how the Apostle Paul encountered a wall in his ministry. The story includes elements familiar to all who minister God’s word. It also depicts what is probably the most significant decision in the history of Christian missions.
Prior to the vision and the call to Macedonia, Paul’s ministry seemed dead-in-the-water. Twice prohibited by the Spirit from reaching out with the gospel Paul came to Troas at a dead end against the sea. The apostle to the Gentiles with the most crucial message in the world could not find an open door of ministry to receptive souls. This situation may be all too familiar to pastors and teachers of the word of God today. No doubt Paul sensed frustration, as he writes in 2 Corinthians 4:8, perplexed, but not in despair.1
However, God used this lack of success to prepare for Paul’s greatest ministry opportunity ever. In a night vision he recognized a man to be from Macedonia, and heard the cry, Come over and help us (Acts 16:9). Anyone who has labored in unproductive or apathetic fields can imagine the thrill of receiving a call from a place where people are hungering and thirsting for the instruction of God’s word.
In response to this vision, Paul and his team conclude that God is calling and decide to enter Macedonia.2 With the crossing of the Aegean Sea and the conversion of Lydia, the gospel came to Europe. Paul’s ministry flourished in Philippi, Thessalonica,
Berea, and Corinth. As always when great doors open to teaching the word of God, many adversaries also arise (1 Corinthians 16:9). Here Paul’s greatest persecutions began.
All believers in the western ...
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