7 Keys to the Biblical Missionary Church
The Bible missionary church model: Antioch
The model church every local church should learn from is the church at Antioch. It is a model for sending churches today. (Acts 11:19-26; 13:1-3) Note the qualities of this church:
1. They realized the need for cross-cultural evangelism. (Acts 11:19-20)
The early church was content in only reaching Jews. They didn’t get it. They were self-centered, blind to other cultures, full of prejudice. They saw the world through their own eyes. However, the church at Antioch was not hung up on their Jewishness and realized that God had moved away from Israel to the gentiles. They went across their Jewish roots to reach the gentiles.
Paul understood peoples. He made a big difference between Jew and gentile even though he said there was no difference in them in Christ. In Christ we’re the same, yet to the day that he died, he made that difference. This difference determined his method. He was a Jew among Jews and a gentile among gentiles, yet he always submitted to Christ’s Lordship.
2. They mobilized all believers in witness. (Acts 11:20-21)
Antioch was founded by the witness of ordinary, unnamed Christians who moved to Antioch. Every Christian is to be a witness.
3. They Expanded the Ministry of the word of God. (Acts 11:22-26)
4. There was a gifted expansion of leadership to five men. (Acts 13:1)
The expanding leadership of spiritually gifted men provided an overflow of missions. Even when Paul was on his first missionary tour, the ministry leadership at Antioch continued to expand. (Acts 13:35) This is the way it should be for local churches today.
5. They were a cosmopolitan, multi-ethnic church (Acts 13:1). This is the model of the missionary church.
The members of the Antioch church were ethnically diverse. Two of its five leaders were gentiles. Simeon called Niger was black. Lucius of Cyrene was a white gentile. Although the other three were presumably Jews, Saul and Barnabas were non-Palestinians, familiar with gentile culture. This gave a solid basis for missionary concern. This is the ideal for missionary minded churches today!
6. They gave their best for world evangelization. (Acts 13:2)
The Antioch church sent out the best men they had for the demanding task of gentile evangelism. Missions is such a demanding ministry that the church must sacrifice its best resources for the task, both personnel and support. Many Christians have used the “tea-bag” mindset, missions gets the leftovers.
7. They were centered in prayer for world outreach. (Acts 13:2)
It was out of prayerful worship that the leaders understood the calling of the Holy Spirit for missions. Missions is rooted in prayer. No great missionary work has been accomplished without prayer. A missions minded church must be a praying church. We must pray for workers, God’s provision, for the effectiveness of the missionary, for unsaved contacts, and the national Christians and churches. Yet how many churches are self-centered in their prayer life? How seldom is missions at the heart of prayer in the average evangelical church, let alone, non-evangelical?
These are the keys to the Biblical missionary church.