At the beginning of the 20th century missiologist Roland Allen published a
seminal work entitled Missionary
Methods: St. Pauls or Ours? In it the author posed the question: Do modern
approaches to missions match the New Testament pattern set for us by the
Apostle Paul? Allen drew the conclusion that much of what passes for Great
Commission ministry today is a far cry from the apostolic pattern. Why? Because
too much of what contemporary missions is concerned with is not what occupied
the time and attention of Paulthe planting and formation of New Testament
In Missionary Methods, Allen further argues
that Pauls sole approach was to preach the gospel, evangelize, then organize
new converts into New Testament congregations. Having instilled in these
Christians a love for Jesus and the priority of sharing Him with a lost world,
he turned them loose to evangelize their communities and the world.
In this way Paul could systematically move through the Greco-Roman world,
leaving new churches behind him, and relying on their fruitfulness to continue
the job of fulfilling the Great Commission.
For the Apostle to the Gentiles, the New Testament church was Gods mission
If planted and discipled biblically, congregations of local believers were
to be the vanguard for world mission. Thats why he wrote the fellowship at
Thessalonica: The Lords message rang
out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia your faith in God has become
known everywhere. Therefore we do not need to say anything (1
One of the most encouraging developments on the world evangelism scene is
the explosive growth of evangelical churches. Some estimates place the growth
at thousands of new fellowships per month. According to the Current News
Summary of Religion Today
(February 2000) evangelical Christianity was identified as the worlds fastest
growing religion with more than 600 million adherents.
The essence of the church as being Jesus Christs primary mission organism is
one of the key reasons that the North American Mission Board puts such great
stress on church planting. It expresses a genuinely biblical mission practice.
Last year Southern Baptists planted well over 1,700 churchesthats almost four
per day! Combined with our church planting focus are evangelism and
If North America is to be reached for Christ, church planting and evangelism
must be at the forefront of the strategy just like it was with Paul.
Notably the first mention of the church came from the lips of Jesus (Matthew
16:18). The first quality expressed about His called out ones is that the gates
of hell would not be able to resist her growth and prosperity. The church alive
and well and growing and evangelizing is the church that Jesus promised He
would build. It is not a defensive structure under attack and besieged. Rather
it is to be on the move for Gods glory.
The great 19th century London Baptist pastor Charles Spurgeon wrote
eloquently of this fact.
We may view converted persons gathered into church membership as so much
wheat in the granary. God be thanked that it is there, and that so far the
harvest has rewarded the sower; but far more soul-inspiring is the view when we
regard those believers as each one likely to be made a living center for the
extension of the kingdom of Jews, for then we see them sowing the fertile
valleys of our land, and promising ere long to bring forth some thirty, some
forty, some fifty and some a hundredfold.
If we, whom Christ is pleased to use as His seed corn, were only all
scattered and sown as we ought to be, and were all to sprout and bring forth
the green blade and the corn in the ear, what a harvest there would be! (C.H.
Spurgeon, The Soul Winner).
Phil Roberts provides insights into theology and spirituality in todays
A Southern Baptist Convention entity supported by the Cooperative Program and theAnnie Armstrong Easter Offering® ©Copyright 2013 North American Mission Board, SBC