Three ways the 1st century Antioch church challenges the 21st century Western church

There was no (conscious, human) strategic plan to get the gospel from Jerusalem to Antioch. Like Samaria (Acts 8), Antioch (Acts 11) heard the gospel because it was brought there by people who had been scattered by persecution.

The Antioch church became the launchpad for mission in the second half of Acts.

Here are three of the ways its example challenges some of our contemporary Western Christianity.

  1. Their witness went beyond the usual suspects. Some of the earliest believers in Jesus evidently saw no reason to tell non-Jews about him. They talked to their fellow Jews – as well they might. But some (out of the box thinkers?) decided to tell the Greeks too. And the Antioch church was born.
  2. Their world extended beyond the front gate. Prompted by the Spirit, they would eventually commission some of their key leaders to take the gospel to other places. But before that, they had reached out to the struggling believers in Judea at a time of famine.
  3. Their worship extended beyond the routine. It was no formality, no mere stamping of a card until next time. As the leaders prayed and fasted, they heard God speak. That time of worship led to a missionary journey.

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