Prayer: Great God, be with those who preach Your Word. Surround them with Your love and Your peace so that they know they are preaching the Word of the Lord to all. This we ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Read Acts 9: 19 – 31
The reading today is the perfect reading for those Ministers and Elders and congregations who are beginning New Church Development ministries. Go and preach. Saul begins to preach in the synagogues in Damascus and the Jews try to kill him. But Saul escapes. Then Saul journeys to Jerusalem and begins preaching again, this time to the Grecian Jews. And the Grecian Jews try to kill Saul. They do not like his message. New ministry is very much like Saul trying to tell everyone about the love of Jesus. Not a lot of people listen and if they do listen, they get upset and try to send the messenger away. New Church Development is not easy.
Scholars today often call this time of Saul’s ministry as “unsuccessful”. Yet Saul was doing the work God had called him to do. It might have been called “unsuccessful” in today’s language but for Saul, God had called him to preach Christ to the community. And that was exactly what Saul was doing whether the community listened or not.
Today when we begin New Church Development, we only look at the numbers of people sitting in the pews and how much money is in the pot to build a Church. If there are a large number of people sitting in the pews and a large amount of money in the pot, we call this ministry “successful”. But are we are on the right track? Shouldn’t we take our example of the enthusiasm of Saul and preach the love of Christ to everyone. Saul’s ministry was to share the Word of God with everyone he met. … even if the people did not like what they were hearing, Saul still preached and taught about the love of Christ.
In reading through this portion of scripture today, you will also notice that Saul was not alone. Saul spent time with the disciples. Saul’s friends helped lower Saul in a basket to get away from those who wanted to kill him. While in Jerusalem, Barnabas took Saul before the apostles and told them about Saul’s journey and conversion. When Saul get into trouble with the Grecian Jews, the brothers took Saul down to Tarsus. Today in New Church Development, we can not do ministry alone. We can not send in one minister and expect a congregation overnight. As Saul’s example of his journey, ministry can not be completed alone. New ministry needs the help of many believers.
Today, keep all New Church Development ministries in your prayers. Together may we go and preach the Good News of our Lord Jesus Christ with our communities and neighbourhoods.
Prayer: Almighty and Everlasting God, be with the ministers and elders and people of New Church Developments. Upon hold them so that they may gather to worship You in joy and enthusiasm. Show us the way O Lord that we can be a help and an aid to these new Ministries. This we ask in Your Son’s name. Amen.