“Those things which ye have both learned and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of Peace shall be with you” (Phil. 4:9).
“METHOD!” answers the question: “How?” How did Paul accomplish in 15 years what has not been duplicated in the last 2000 years? He was the one who took the gospel of Grace from Antioch (Acts 13) halfway across Europe to Rome, the capital of the world at that time. We have the same God, the same Message, the same Holy Spirit, and much better facilities. Certainly the opposition in the time of Paul was greater than today. Wasn’t he hindered at every turn and even imprisoned at the peak of his ministry? His persecution was “above measure.”
Roland Allen, in his book “Missionary Methods, St. Paul’s or Ours,” challenges us to reconsider missionary methods in the light of the early church and to contrast the outcome of the last 150 years with St. Paul’s decade of work in Greece and Asia Minor. Have we produced, with all our modern means and methods, in 150 years what Paul produced with his methods in 15 years? If the answer is “No,” then we should change over to Paul’s methods which are actually simple, and a few hours of study would start us on the right road.
For a moment, think about objectives because they are vitally related to methods. Paul’s first objective was evangelism (Acts 26:16-19). The one goal constantly before Paul was, “Evangelize the world.” If we are going to follow Paul, this same driving goal must constrain us, and nothing must deter us from the goal of evangelism.
2. Establishing the Local Church:
Paul was careful to gather new converts into a local assembly, “a church in a house” (Rom. 16:5). Paul did not tell his converts to attend the church of their choice. I believe Paul’s ultimate objective was to establish a local assembly. Evangelism wasn’t complete until a church was established and the converts were attending a local church established by Paul. I believe Paul sets a pattern for us in Acts 14:21-23.
1. Training Church Leaders and Church Planters—II Tim. 2:1-3:
Paul’s training of church leaders was done in the church. He never took pastors out of a church and trained them in a foreign place, but he selected those in the church who were already leaders and trained them, laying hands on them.
From each church he selected other men and women to leave the church and follow him in church planting. Acts 16 tells of the call of Timothy. Acts 20:4 lists a number of men from various churches who accompanied Paul.
He trained church leaders in the church and he trained field workers in the field. “On the job training” was used by Paul. Just now, men are beginning to realize the effectiveness of this method after all. We see more and more Grace churches starting Bible schools to train their own people for ministry.
2. Correction & Further Training:
When a local church fell into error, Paul did several things: (1) wrote letters (2) sent a fellow evangelist to the church (3) went himself (4) prayed constantly for the church. This is also how he gave further training to the leaders in the churches. Missions is a GOING business. We go to the lost, not asking or waiting for them to come to us. We go to the churches to teach and train, not asking the church to come to us. We go with the evangelists to train them, not sending them out to train themselves.
Paul, in every church, emphasized the truth that was revealed to him by the Lord Jesus Christ. I think Scofield summed up the importance of Paul’s message when he said: “In his writings alone we find the doctrine, position, walk and destiny of the Church.” The church is not only established for fellowship and worship, but also for teaching and training members in the message that Paul revealed to the Gentiles (Eph. 3:1-10; Rom. 11:13).
In 1958, Things to Come Mission began its ministry in the Republic of the Philippines. The first thing we did was to establish objectives for the ministry. We also felt the objectives we set for the Philippine ministry would be used later in other countries.
The objective would be the same as the Apostle Paul’s—establish local churches. In order to accomplish this objective we also followed Paul in method. The first method was evangelism. The converts from evangelism would be brought together into a local church. In the Philippine ministry several methods were used to evangelize: radio broadcasts on local stations, liter-ature (gospel tracts, Bible Correspondence Courses, and books), and open-air evangelistic meetings.
The second method was training of the national leaders. Thus the Bible Schools were established, church-related training centers were established to train elders, the TEE program was set up, and special seminars are held annually throughout the Philippines for our churches.
As the ministry grew, we saw the need for establishing a youth department. This department is responsible to train and equip the youth in the local churches. The youth department has developed into a large ministry from which they regularly send out evangelistic teams to hold meetings.
The ministry in the Philippines has grown to over 500 Grace churches; all committed to teaching the special message revealed to and through Paul. There are now Filipino missionaries serving the Lord in Kenya, Indonesia, and Brazil. There are five resident-type Bible Schools in the Philippines, with many students preparing for the ministry. To further train our pastors, a two-week intensive postgraduate school is held every year or so.
The objectives that were established in the Philippines have also become the objectives for TCM’s ministries in Kenya, South Africa, Indonesia, and Brazil. In each country there are a number of churches established and ongoing training programs.
Paul’s objective and methods work in the 21st century. We must continue following Paul in doctrine, and practice.
“Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ” (I Cor. 11:1).
“Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me” (I Cor. 4:16).