Community & Missions: The Apostolic Model
Of the 3 revival centers in the book of acts (Jerusalem, Antioch and Ephesus) I am particularly fond of Antioch. To me, the distinctives of the move of God at Antioch represent, in a prophetic sense, some of the realities the Church must recover in order to see her apostolic witness restored in the Earth.
One of the most notable features of the Christian community at Antioch was the profound missionary spirit this church carried. In fact, the first 2 official ‘mission trips’ in the early Church were sent out from the Antioch community. In both instances young apostles were sent out by the church in response to prophetic revelation received in the community from the Holy Spirit. For the church at Antioch, missions was a natural expression of their supernatural community.
IMPLICATIONS FOR TODAY
Today we are seeing a strong tide of missionary zeal beginning to rise in the Church, especially among the youth. Many are receiving the call to GO into the nations for gospel of the kingdom. As one who works both with young people and global missions, I can honestly say, these are exciting times!
Below I’ve shared 5 reasons I’m convinced true community is THE launch pad for missions.
1) The Godhead Model. Jesus was the first ‘sent one’ to ever go into the world. The Apostle of our faith enjoyed perfect community with the Godhead (Father-Son-Spirit) before He was sent into the world on His Father’s mission.
2) The Early Church Practice. In the book of Acts we find the work of missions is a natural expression of the supernatural life of the local church. The move of the Spirit in a local fellowship must eventually find expression in Great Commission exploits.
3) True Missions Cannot Exist Apart From Community. “Missionary” and “Apostle” simply mean “sent one.” Missions is more than simply GOing, it’s sending and being sent. Only a community can ‘send’ and one can only ‘be sent’ from a community.
4) DNA Multiplication. We can only reproduce what we are, both in the physical and in the Spirit. An independent ‘missionary’ cannot reproduce a true community–only a ‘sent one’ can do that.
5) The Great Commission. The call to make disciples of all nations can only be fulfilled as churches/communities SEND messengers into all the world. The mandate Jesus commissioned us with requires we act as one, in unity.