Missionary Service in the Life of Paul, Part 3: -- By: Kenneth C. Fleming

Journal: Emmaus Journal
Volume: EMJ 02:1 (Summer 1993)
Article: Missionary Service in the Life of Paul, Part 3:
Author: Kenneth C. Fleming

Missionary Service in the Life of Paul, Part 3:

Kenneth C. Fleming1

Paul The Church Planter

Paul’s skill as a missionary is nowhere more marked than in his success as a church planter. As an effective evangelist hundreds came to know Christ through his preaching. He also excelled as a teacher and trainer of people. As a faithful parent trains his children so Paul brought to maturity his spiritual children. His crowning activity, however, was that he formed churches from the believers who had been evangelized and taught. The planting of churches was the third and final step in the strategy of Pauline mission (Acts 14:21–23).

The remarkable thing is that he did it. As we examine the accomplishments of Paul and the principles underlying them, we will discover that we too can succeed. It is neither complicated nor confusing. Paul showed us how to do it. We can, under God, plant churches as he did. Neither the power nor the principles have changed.

In our study of Paul as a missionary church planter we will look first at his concept of the church and how he gained his understanding of it. Then we will note the priority of church planting in his ministry. We will look at the local church which became the model for those he established. Finally, we will examine the principles which made his church planting so successful.

Paul’s Concept Of The Church As God’s Institution

Before Paul was converted his concept of the church was that it was a sect of misguided Jews who had been brainwashed into thinking that Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah and that he had been raised from the dead. The sight of crowds of His followers in the temple area singing His praise filled Saul with rage because he saw them as enemies of the truth and as a threat to orthodox Jewry. As a leader of the Pharisees he organized an opposition movement to eradicate those who called themselves the church. After the martyrdom of Stephen, “Saul began ravaging the church, entering house after house; and dragging off men and women, he would put them in prison” (Acts 8:3).

After his conversion his concept of the church changed. He realized that Jesus was indeed the Messiah and that the proof of it was that He had risen from the dead. Instead of persecuting the church he now sought to help its cause. He aligned himself with the disciples who were in the church. He acknowledged that Jesus was the Lord and Builder of His church, just as He had said to the twelve when he stated, “I will build...

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