Let’s pick up on our story of how a church gets off of “Pause.”
What was ahead in the adventure story of the Antioch church? So many people began following Jesus at Antioch that the news spread down to Jerusalem. The bigwigs at Jerusalem wanted to check it out, so they tapped a trusted elder named Barnabas to hop on up to Antioch and find out what was happening in the church there.
Barnabas determined that it was the real thing; that the Holy Spirit was the instigator of it all. So much so that his weekend investigation turned into an entire year of training, helped along by a young apostle named Paul. A drought made the headlines and the church responded not by throwing its hands up helplessly but by taking a big offering and sending the proceeds down to Jerusalem to help feed the hungry.
Fast forward a bit further and you see a church well established with a mature elder board. Interesting thing about that elder board: it is ethnically and economically diverse.
- Barnabas; (Acts 4:36) “son of encouragement”; priestly tribe,
- Cyprus; landowner
- Simeon who was called Niger; Jewish name, apparently with nickname (Latin) meaning “black.” Child of mixed marriage? (Jewish father, African mother?)
- Lucius of Cyrene; Roman name (upbringing) from city in Libya (No.African)
- Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch; possibly foster-brother; Jewish name; associated with a despised, despotic ruling family; exposed to wealth.
- Saul; well educated Jewish lawyer. Vicious persecutor of the church; excellent teacher
People were getting turned around on a dime by the resurrected Jesus. Money was flowing in to help the poor and hungry. Elders of different ethnicities were praying together with fasting; they were hearing the voice of God. This was one happening place.
Consider! Most churches are poised to become places that only the Spirit of God can imagine! If only they weren’t stuck on Pause.