Everybody’s looking for a successful church to emulate. Large, small, and in between, we all are watching to see who’s making a splash so we can borrow a few ideas from them. With that in mind, I have a church to commend to you. No, it’s not the hottest church down the street. It’s a New Testament church – the church at Antioch.
The account of the Antioch church is found in Acts 11:19–30 and 13:1–3. The writer of Acts wrote that followers of Jesus were first called Christians in Antioch (11:26). Though this church was only a year or two old at the time of the writing of Acts, it is regarded as one of the most influential churches in the New Testament. What are the characteristics exhibited in their behavior that show spiritual maturity?
First, in worship, they knew how to allow God’s Spirit to create a worship vortex among them. According to Acts 13:2–3 (HCSB): “As they were ministering to the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work I have called them to.’ Then after they had fasted, prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them off.”
Second, in discipleship, they knew how to live sacrificially. According to Acts 11:29 (HCSB): “So each of the disciples, according to his ability, determined to send relief to the brothers who lived in Judea.”
And third, they knew how to go on mission, both in their community and to other people groups. According to Acts 11:24 (HCSB): “Large numbers of people were added to the Lord” as the church was on mission to its community.
Do the characteristics of the Antioch church sound familiar? They are the circle of missional living: worship-discipleship-mission. The fact that they reflected this proves that Paul and Barnabas taught an intentional process of transformational discipleship. Paul and Barnabas were growing worshiping disciples on mission in Antioch.
How about you? Yes, I know that most of my readers are worship pastors or lay worship leaders. So does that exempt you from growing disciple makers yourself? You know better, don’t you? Jesus gave the Great Commission to all of us, you included! His call to each of us is to grow disciples who make disciples and who act/think/pray as missionaries 24/7. That’s what the Antioch church was all about and their results show it. What kind of results do you have to show? — Mark Powers
NOTE: Do you and your worship team need practical, accessible training available 24/7? http://www.WorshipWise.com offers an array of online courses to meet immediate needs for only $99 per course. January session enrollment begins December 26. Join us! MP