I have been reflecting on what it means to be a sending church for missionaries. There are a lot of opinions and differences on what a sending church is and what it does. I have been reflecting on Acts 13:1-3 and Acts 14:24-28 which describe the relationship Antioch church had with Paul and Barnabas. Here are some basic observations from these passages.
- It was the Holy Spirit who called and sent Paul and Barnabas for the work (13:2 and also 13:4). The Holy Spirit did this through the church, but HE called and sent them.
- The Holy Spirit led the church of Antioch to send Paul and Baranbas (13:1). It was the church that the Holy Spirit used to send these missionaries.
- It was the leadership of the church of Antioch who were led by the Holy Spirit to send out Paul and Barnabas (13:1-2).
- Paul and Barnabas were actively serving in the church of Antioch (Acts 13:1). They were actively serving where they were BEFORE they were sent out to serve elsewhere.
- It was while the leaders were worshipping and fasting that the Holy Spirit indicated that He had called Paul and Barnabas (Acts 13:2).
- The leaders fasted and prayed before sending Paul and Barnabas out (Acts 13:3).
- The leadership of Antioch laid hands on Paul and Barnabas and sent them out (Acts 13:3).
- When the leaders laid hands on Paul and Barnabas and sent them out, the leadership had commended them to the grace of God for the work (14:26). They were committed to God’s favor and enablement to accomplish their work.
- When Paul and Barnabas had completed their work they returned to Antioch. They reported what God had done with them to the gathered church and stayed with this church for a long time (14:27-28).
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