“Now at Lystra there was a man sitting, who could not use his feet; he was a cripple from birth, who had never walked. He listened to Paul speaking; and Paul, looking intently at him and seeing that he had faith to be made well, said in a loud voice, “Stand upright on your feet.” And he sprang up and walked”. – Acts 14:8-10
After reading the assigned chapters it is evident that the Apostle Paul utilized many different principles in his missionary journeys. Paul was willing to obey the orders of the Holy Spirit no matter the circumstance. Moreau states, “Paul’s strategy was far more focused on the willingness to obey the Holy Spirit than on strategic planning .” Paul often went back into places where death was a possibility. He did this because the Holy Spirit let him know that there was one issue or another that needed to be dealt with. Secondly Paul was an extremely good evangelist, and he always had a goal in mind. He did not lead someone to Christ and leave the person to their own devices. With everything being against Christianity in his day that individual may have fallen into apostasy. Paul wanted to create communities of Christians so the could grow and support each other. Arthur Glasser states, “he regarded it his chief task to preach the gospel to all mankind and to incorporate all those who believed into communal life .” Thirdly Paul changed his message based on the audience. This is vitally important to our missionary and evangelistic efforts. We must know our audience and know what will reach them. It may take some homework on our part, but it will pay off. It also helps to avoid any obstacles that may not be necessary to maneuver. Fourthly Paul preached Jesus wherever he went. Though he may have changed how the discussion went based on his audience, he never deviated from the life, death, and resurrection of Christ. This should be the same for us today. It is tempted to speak a feel good message and water down the gospel, but if we do that we are not helping anyone’s eternal state. Fifth Paul worked within a team. In business we are taught that more is achieved within a team. There is no doubt that Paul was the leader, and that the “companions were helpers rather than colleagues .” Paul was teaching the newer generation what he knew and how to do it. When we work in teams we can encourage each other, learn from each other, and minister to each other. It is also a safety issue as there is safety in numbers especially when going to a land you are not familiar with.
The three missionary journeys that Paul went on apply to our lives today. We get to see that the Apostle to the gentiles also experienced trials and tribulations, and we see his handiwork today. We would do well by utilizing some of the principles that he demonstrates for us in scripture.
1. Moreau, A. Scott, et al. Introducing World Missions: A Biblical, Historical, and Practical Survey. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Academic, 2004, 61.
2. Winter, Ralph D., and Steven C. Hawthorne. Perspectives on the World Christian Movement: A Reader. 4th ed. Pasadena, California: William Carey Library, 2009, 151.
3. Moreau, A. Scott, et al. Introducing World Missions: A Biblical, Historical, and Practical Survey. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Academic, 2004, 65.