Thursday, April 06, 2006

Paul's 4 Missionary Journeys

Living Room this week was at Forge's "Postcard from the Edge" with Neil Cole. Neil Cole is one of the leading organic leadership practitioners in the world. He is the Executive Director of CMA and a board member. Neil helped found the ministry and has helped lead it from its inception. Neil has been in pastoral ministry for fifteen years and is an experienced church planter, author and consultant. Neil is also a founding leader of the Awakening Chapels and of organic church planting movements.

He talked about Paul's 4 missionary journeys, and the lessons we could learn from them. The followings are some of the main points he shared during the night, which I found very insightful and challenging.
  • Paul's First Missionary Journey (Acts 13:1-14:28)

First Journey Lessons: The first journey leader often tries to do it all himself, which leaves weak churches who are susceptible to domineering leadership (Galatians). The apprentice leader on his first journey begins to flex his own leadership muscles and become a leader in his own right stepping out from the shadow of his mentor.• First journey leaders often seem in a hurry to move on.• The first journey is where the leader gains the know-how to later pass on to others. You can’t skip the first journey.

  • Paul's Second Missionary Journey (Acts 15:36-18:22)

Second Journey Lessons:• The emerging leader often shows less respect for the mentor leader as he steps out on his own to do things his way. This usually lasts about one year and if the mentor responds graciously he will gain even greater respect afterward. Ralph Moore refers to this as “adolescent rebellion syndrome” because it so closely parallels the struggles of a teenager coming of age.• The 2nd journey leader often finds his plans are not God’s plans. The quicker he learns to listen and follow the better. Strategy is not a bad thing, but it is second to listening to God’s voice and obeying.• The lesson of the second journey is learned through conflict, pain, loneliness and fear.• You can’t skip the second journey either.

  • Paul's Third Missionary Journey (Acts 18:23-21:16)

Third Journey Lessons:• Many leaders do not reach this journey, because of arrested development in earlier phases.• Writing is often more prolific in this phase. • God entrusts third journey leaders with more quality emerging leaders because they are valued and given great opportunities.• Third journey leaders have an expanding influence because others take their message further than he/she could themselves. • Though the third journey leader may find he/she is doing less things they are more focused and more is accomplished through the multiplication of new leadership.

  • Paul's Fourth Missionary Journey (Acts 21-28)

Fourth Journey Lessons:• Most Christian leaders will never get to the fourth journey. They usually plateau or die on a previous journey.• The fourth journey leader cares less about daily provisions than they used to. They have learned the secret of contentment and trust (Phil. 4:10-14)• The fourth journey leader’s reputation increases even in the eyes of secular leaders.• The fourth journey is one of greater expansive influence, beyond what expectations or circumstances would dictate. • The fourth journey is when the leader often expands his/her written influence so that countless others are benefited by their experience and maturity. Books written in this journey are longer-lasting works. • The fourth journey leader still faces life tests of character growth.

What do you think of Paul's 4 Missionary Journeys? And how can they be applied in your life, leadership and ministry?

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