A Priority Assignment
Your church is exploding in size. The growth is so dynamic that you have five active preachers. Suddenly, in the midst of prayer and fasting, the Holy Spirit stresses that you need to send out your two most gifted and mature teachers. This is not a make believe scenario. It’s exactly what happened in the church of Antioch, Syria, about 46 AD. It’s the first church to send out missionaries and Luke describes the events like this:
“In the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers. Their names were Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the Tetrarch), and Saul. While they were serving the Lord in prayer and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work that I have called them to do.’ (cf. Acts 9:5-6, 15-16) Then after fasting and praying and laying their hands on them, they sent Barnabas and Saul off.” - Acts 13:1-3
In July of 1973 Midlothian Bible Church had its first Sunday morning worship as a newborn church. In that service the leaders laid hands on Ed and Coralee Murray to send them off to minister in Europe with Campus Crusade for Christ (CRU). Actually, from 1973 to 1989, they worked behind the Iron Curtain more than they did in Western Europe.
On November 9, 1989 when the Berlin Wall came down, the work of CRU among young believers in East Germany was so well developed that the East German staff was ready to launch the ministry on their own, but when the country united, the German Campus Crusade was established. Forty- five years later the Murrays are still going strong.
If you’re on the leadership team of your church, pray and fast, and if the Holy Spirit tells you to send out your best, don’t balk. I believe Midlothian Bible Church’s decision to send out their most experienced teachers right at the birth of the church was a major factor in the Spirit’s continued wind of blessing not only in Eastern Europe but in Midlothian, TX as well.
LORD, I can hardly wait to talk to these five leaders from the church in Antioch when I get to heaven. I know how you used Paul and Barnabas, but I’d like to learn more about how the three prophets and teachers left behind kept evangelizing and discipling. Move church leaders today to worship and fast and then be obedient to sacrificing to fulfill your purpose to reach every people group on earth.
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