Paul’s missionary work, therefore, should not be thought of as the humble efforts of a lonely missionary. Rather, it was a well-planned, large-scale organization. Helmut Koester
Rodney Stark's new book argues that Paul quickly developed a standard approach to his church planting mission.
- He typically began to visit a community by holding privately organized meetings under the patronage of eminent persons. who provided him with an audience composed of their dependents.
- Paul did not travel alone, but often took a retinue of as many as forty followers with him, sufficient to constitute an initial ‘congregation,’ which made it possible to hold credible worship services and to welcome and form bonds with newcomers.
- Upon arrival, Paul would gather any Christians already living in the city, attaching them to his imported congregation, and then use their social networks as the basis for further recruitment.
- Once the congregation was a going concern and had adequately trained local leaders, Paul moved on, but he maintained close contact through messengers and letters, and sometimes by making return visits.
So where would we place the church multiplication ministry of Paul today in our understanding of church structures?