Friday, September 21, 2007
Paul's Missionary Strategy
We know Paul primarily because of 13 letters written under his name in the New Testament. Had Paul not been a letter writer, we'd probably know little to nothing about him today. But letter-writing was part of a broader missionary strategy rooted in his call to be "the apostle to the Gentiles." As we read Paul's letters and consider Luke's portrait of him in Acts 9-28, I'd like to know how you would summarize the key elements of and describe Paul's missionary strategy.
I've taken my own stab at this in an essay published in The Dust Off Their Feet: Lessons from the Early Church. It's a new translation/retelling of Acts by Brian McLaren. I wrote some of the commentary but the focus here are the essays in the back. I'll see if I can get permission to reproduce it here. Until then you might be able to check it out from the library or I've created a link you can follow on the title.
Here's the challenge. As you read through Paul, Acts or other books on Paul, come back to this blog post and add another thought or insight about Paul's missionary strategy. At the end we'll collect them all together and see where we are. Include not only the strategy (e.g., letter writing) but also how Paul used the strategy. For example, Paul used letters to introduce himself (Romans), to say thank you (Philippians), to reprimand and reconcile (Galatians and 2 Corinthians), to answer questions from the community (1 Corinthians), to pass on or remind people of the tradition (various), to offer pastoral counsel (various), to intercede (Philemon), to appeal for prayer (various), and to share travel plans (various). Obviously, this list is not exhaustive. As we study various letters, we'll see how they function. In the end we hope to take Paul as a model for how we engage ministry and service in the 21st century.