Paul as church planter 6
“they proclaimed the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews”, Acts 13:5.
Paul was called to proclaim the Gospel not just to the Jews, but to the Gentiles as well. Now he sets out on his first missionary journey. Cyprus is the first stop. Even though he got a very clear call to the Gentiles, he starts in the synagogue. No doubt that has a theological reason: the Jews should be the first to hear that God has fulfilled his promise and that the Messsiah has been born.
Besides that Paul’s approach is the right one, it is also the logical one. Paul can count on people being interested in his message in the synagogue. He will meet Jews there, but also non-Jews who feared God but were hesitant to take the last step and join the Jewish people and the Jewish religion.
It still is important to not plant a church at any random place, but to look for those places where God has prepared people for the Gospel. In Thailand I have planted two small churches in nine years and saw them grow to independence. Part of the reason why this has been possible is that I did not start with ‘rocky ground’, but at places where I saw the Spirit of God moving.
The Lord blessed the ministry of Paul in a special way. In many cities churches came into being. And contrary to what often has been said, all through history there was a lot of fruit from mission among the Jews. Even today we are called to proclaim the Gospel to Jew and Gentile, with a special emphasis on those places where the Lord is already preparing people’s hearts for the Good News about Jesus Christ.
Where do you see God’s work of preparation in the lives of people? How do you connect to that?