n our list of seven essential principles for every church, we come to the last, but not the least.
How is this possible? Take a close look at what happened with the church in Jerusalem. God moved persons out of Jerusalem through persecution and they “preach the Lord Jesus…and the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number who believed turned to the Lord” (Acts 11:19-22). From this movement of the Spirit, the church at Antioch was established. They planted a self-propagating church in Antioch as we see in chapter 13. It was the Holy Spirit who sent out Barnabas and Paul to planting churches in Antioch (Galatia), Iconium, Lystra and Derbe. On Paul’s second missionary journey, one of the churches that he and Silas planted was Thessalonica which became a powerful self-propagating church. Notice Paul’s comment regarding this church:
“For not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Macedonia and Achaia, but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere, so that we need not say anything.” (1 Thessalonians 1:8).
To bring these last three principles together, I quote from Roland Allen; “Until we learn that not only self-support in a financial sense, but self-support in a spiritual sense, a sense that implies self-government, must begin from the very beginning, we cannot hope to see that wide propagation of the Gospel which alone could penetrate a continent like Africa, or reach the vast populations of India and China, or cover those wide, sparsely-populated areas where communications are difficult. Could we once persuade ourselves that self-extension, self-support and self-government go hand in hand, and are all equally the rights of converts from the very beginning, we might see such an expansion of Christianity throughout the world as now we little dream of.”
The Spontaneous Expansion of the Church and the Causes Which Hinder It, Public Domain, pg. 24.
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It is imperative that we rethink our present methods and RETURN to a biblical, Pauline model to ensure that our work is motivated and empowered by the Holy Spirit. Then we will fulfill Jesus’ imperative; “And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations (ethnos - people groups), and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:14).
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