The Antioch church is an important one. It is generally considered to be the first Gentile church, and it is the church out of which Paul is commissioned for apostolic mission to the Gentiles. It is a church planting church.
In Acts 13:1-4, this church is described at worship: Prophets and teachers (including Saul) are worshiping the Lord, fasting, and praying. Out of this experience of worship, fasting, and prayer, the Holy Spirit speaks and commissions Saul and Barnabas for work. After more prayer and fasting, the church leaders place their hands on Saul and Barnabas and commission them before sending them out.
It strikes me that the Holy Spirit spoke and sent in the context of worship, fasting, and prayer.
In my own context, I began to seek the Lord in prayer with fasting and worship, and out of this experience, I believe the Holy Spirit spoke to me as well.
As I prayed, three words came to my mind: Mission, Members, Many. I prayed longer, and the words began to take on shape: Multiplying Mission, Maturing Members, Making Disciples of the Many. I began to discern a way forward, a triangle of activities, a rhythm of life that God was calling me and the Love First Church to.
Discipleship is best thought of as a way of life with a certain rhythm to it. I discerned that if we “multipled mission” in our Learning Circles, “matured members” at our prayer meeting, and “made disciples of the many” in our “love first lifestyle,” then we could motivate church planting movement.
The Holy Spirit revealed a further rhythm: If we lived our lives according to the up-in-out rhythms of Learning Circles, prayer meeting, and made disciples of the many through intentional “love first” mission, we would also create a disciple-making movement that reproduces. The heart of this movement is not the activities behind it, but the way that our lives are shaped for mission by love by living according to this rhythm.
I am grateful to God for this revelation that will help us engage his mission for his kingdom.