Paul’s Missionary Lifestyle

When looking at Scott Moreau’s book “Introducing World Missions” He brings to light ten principles that can be learned from Paul’s missionary work. These same principles can be applied in all cultures by all missionaries. While all of these are important, there are five that stand out above the others.

First, “Paul’s strategy was far more focused on a willingness to obey the Holy Spirit than on the detailed and programatic strategic planning practices seen in Western mission agencies of today” (Moreau, Scott. Introducing World Missions: A Biblical, Historical, and Practical Survey. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic. 2004. 61.) This is incredibly important for modern Christians to realize. All too often Christians tend to put God in a box, and while it is important to have a general plan of where you’re going and what you plan to do, that plan can’t be the end all for the journey. Paul even flipped his whole missionary strategy by instead of pressing on to Asia, he listened to the Holy Spirit and instead headed toward Rome. By allowing the Holy Spirit to lead him, Paul became much more effective and not downtrodden and burned out. This is especially important because “persecution was a crucial part of Paul’s circumstances, but it did not deter him from proclaiming the gospel” (Moreau, Scott. Introducing World Missions: A Biblical, Historical, and Practical Survey. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic. 2004. 65.). By remaining flexible and being yielded to the Holy Spirit, Paul demonstrates the flexibility and perseverance necessary for missionary work.

This flexibility also as seen in his financing. He was not afraid to work and sell tents, but as Moreau quotes Roland Allen, he did have some rules with money. “He did not seek financial help for himself; that he took no financial help to those to whom he preached; that he did not administer local church funds”  (Moreau, Scott. Introducing World Missions: A Biblical, Historical, and Practical Survey. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic. 2004. 65.). This makes it so that Paul is never a burden to those whom he was evangelizing, nor were people coming to him for false reasons. He knew he needed money for living to provide for things such as food, but his life was not defined by them.

Another characteristics of vast importance is that “Paul’s primary concern went beyond winning people to Christ; his ministry focus was on forming communities of Christians throughout the regions he traveled as a means of spreading the gospel to the whole world” (Moreau, Scott. Introducing World Missions: A Biblical, Historical, and Practical Survey. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic. 2004. 62). His ministry was evangelistic with a goal of not just winning people to Christ, but building them up so they can win more people to Christ as well. Its the same method of ministry that he gives Timothy when he reminds him “the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (2 Timothy 2:2). This ties into the last characteristic.

Lastly, “Paul focused his attention on planing churches and moving on to new areas” (Moreau, Scott. Introducing World Missions: A Biblical, Historical, and Practical Survey. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic. 2004. 62). By planting the church and providing the church the skills necessary for them to thrive on their own he made investments into the kingdom of God that would last beyond him. He would not stay with  a church long enough to become a pastor there, but he did care about the churches he planted as seen by his letters to the churches despite not being present. His concern was to grow the churches and establish them so the people who lived in a region could minister to the rest of the population in a given area.


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