Paul’s Missionary Journeys: A Fresh Perspective

Neil Cole wrote a very interesting and insightful paper on the missionary strategy of the Apostle Paul that I have just discovered and read. The paper was written in 1998 and is entitled “A Fresh Perspective Of Paul’s Missionary Strategies.” The sub-title really speaks to the content of the paper. It is “The Mentoring for Multiplication Model.”

In the introductory section of the paper, Cole writes,

This article will examine Paul’s missionary methods, and demonstrate that he improved upon their effectiveness and fruitfulness with each journey as he focused more concerted energy in mentoring and multiplying leadership.”

Cole then walks us through the missionary journeys of Paul, showing us from Scripture how the Apostle’s strategy for ministry and leadership development matured with each journey.

The first missionary enterprise was carried out by a two-man team – Paul and Barnabas. By the time of the third missionary journey, Paul understood the need for the multiplication of leaders for the work of the ministry and the spreading of the Gospel. He then established a teaching and training ministry at the School of Tyrannus in Ephesus which, in essence, was a “regional church planting saturation strategy” training school. From this school, according to Cole, church planters were sent into Asia Minor and churches, such as the one at Colosse, were started and established. The men who had been trained in the school and served as the Asia Minor church planters are, per Cole, the elders that Paul addresses in Acts 20.

Neal then shows us how Paul, years later while under house arrest in Rome, continued to minister the Gospel, mentor believers and multiply ministry leadership.

The thrust of Neal’s paper, based on the ministry of The Apostle, is that if we are going to effectively reach our world for Christ, we must place an emphasis on the raising up, mentoring, and multiplication of leaders for the work of the Kingdom.

“Out of the harvest … For the harvest”

Read the paper in its entirety here.

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This article was originally written and posted on taethnenetwork, December 2, 2009.

See Neil Cole’s book, Church 3.o, Upgrades for the Future Church, at WTS Books here.

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