Paul as churchplanter 1
“Then he rose and was baptized”, Act 9:18 (ESV). Mission is rooted in the Bible. The greatest missionary in the Bible is the apostle Paul, who planted new churches in many provinces of the Roman Empire. I plan to write one short blog entry a week for half a year to explore the missionary method of Paul from the book of Acts.
Acts 9 describes the start of Paul’s life with Christ. Christ appeared to him on the way to Damascus and he was blinded. Ananias obeys, after some resisting, God’s command to visit Paul and lay hands on him. Paul is healed instantly, and is baptized immediately. He didn’t follow confirmation classes. He did not have a heart-to-heart talk with the elders of the church. No, ‘he rose and was baptized’. Later on, Paul did the same thing in his missionary work. The jailer in Philippi came to the Lord in the middle of the night and was baptized before sunrise. Granted, in the Early Church before long baptismal candidates had to wait quite some time before being admitted to baptism, and there are several reasons for that. Yet it is important to give a lot of weight to this biblical example.
Baptism and faith go together. It is not the capping stone of a study course, but it is the start of a life with God. As soon as someone understands what grace is, he can be baptized. In my own missionary work I have seen how God in baptism puts his seal on the lives of people. It is a means of grace through which people really change. And it is not just personal. As soon someone is baptized in a new area, is that the beginning of a new church.