What did Paul teach the new churches?

May 7th, 2010

I was reading more of Frank Viola’s Finding Organic Church today. In particular I was looking at the idea of the Apostle Paul planting a new church in a town, staying with it for six or so months and then leaving it.

My first thought was that they would not survive very long on their own. However, when you think about the things Paul taught them daily, six months would be a long time. Viola shares that Paul taught the new church members three things…

1. To live by the Divine Life – by this he means Paul taught the people who they were in Christ, that God sees them as fully forgiven on Christ’s work alone and that it is Christ who now lives in them (ie Galatians 2:20)

2. To experience the fellowship of the Divine community – living together, loving one another and caring for each others needs in the context of Christian community.

3. To enlarge the Divine life and fellowship to others – sharing that God has opened the way for humans to come into relationship with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Viola goes on to say that as Paul lived and taught amongst the people he modelled how to do these things. Once he had been with them for about six months, natural leaders or Elders rose up from within the group and Paul then moved on to continue his work elsewhere.

We see that once Paul left a church he would call back (or write) ocassionally to provide extra teaching and encouragement, but essentially he left them in God’s hands to grow and mature on their own and replicate themselves in other places.

It is an interesting concept of planting a church, nuturing, leaving it on their own and calling back ocassionally. It is so different from how we do things today, but it was mighty effective!

God Bless,