We return once again to the origin story of the great Apostle Paul. Following his life-altering encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus, we are reminded that “success” did not come to Paul overnight. In fact, it was not until some 14 years later that Paul set off on his first missionary journey (Acts 13-28). Why then did God gift Paul with this grand prophecy that he would spread the gospel to “the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel” (Acts 9:15) only to hit a long pause button where nothing seems to happen?
Parallel to Paul’s story is the story of the church. Following the great persecution against the church in Jerusalem, all were scattered (Acts 8:1). The steady growth of the church since Pentecost appeared to come to a sudden halt as well. What then did the church, particularly in Antioch, do in the midst of this long pause to mature over time (Acts 11:25 to Acts 13:1) to become the ‘home base’ from which Paul and Barnabas launched their ministry?
What can we learn from long pauses, in our personal and corporate lives?
WHAT WILL YOU DO
The marks of a maturing assembly are:
How evident are these marks in the church community around you? What can you do, as a member of this church community, to help it grow in these marks?
“I was personally unknown to the churches of Judea that are in Christ. They only heard the report: “The man who formerly persecuted us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.” And they praised God because of me.” – Galatians 1:22-24 NIV