How To Care For The Sent Ones That Return Like The Antioch Church – Acts 14
From my reading in Acts 14 in the One Year New Testament.
Recently I wrote two posts about lessons from the church in Antioch, and how to be a sending church like Antioch. Antioch sent Paul and Barnabas out well, but they also cared for and stayed connected with them.
“Finally, they returned by ship to Antioch of Syria, where their journey had begun. The believers there had entrusted them to the grace of God to do the work they had now completed. Upon arriving in Antioch, they called the church together and reported everything God had done through them and how he had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles, too. And they stayed there with the believers for a long time.” Acts 14:26-28
Welcome Missionaries Back And Listen To Their Stories
When Paul and Barnabas returned from their journey they were welcomed back. The believers who sent them were able to celebrate the stories of lives that had been changed! Paul and Barnabas gathered the people and shared a report about how the ministry is going.
My wife and I just got done doing a similar ministry report with a group of our supporters. It is a joy to share with others the great things God is doing. I feel more connected to my supporters after getting to share with them personally and those that support us also have a better idea of how they are investing in the kingdom of God.
Hearing the stories of missionaries can invigorate members of the church to go out and do similar things. Also it shows the sending church that the resources and prayer they send are not in vain.
Welcome them back for rest and rejuvenation.
It says that Paul and Barnabas stayed there for a long time before leaving again. Missionaries and church planters have exhausting work. It is helpful for missionaries to have a home base where they can rejuvenate after being on the front lines.
The church in Antioch is a good example of a church that cares for those they send. Let it be a remainder to sending churches today to not only send people out but also provide a caring home base for them to come back to.