Preaching, Teaching and Healing: A Model for Ministry
Acts 19:8 ¶ He entered the synagogue and for three months spoke out boldly, and argued persuasively about the kingdom of God.
Acts 19:9 When some stubbornly refused to believe and spoke evil of the Way before the congregation, he left them, taking the disciples with him, and argued daily in the lecture hall of Tyrannus.
Acts 19:10 This continued for two years, so that all the residents of Asia, both Jews and Greeks, heard the word of the Lord.
Acts 19:11 ¶ God did extraordinary miracles through Paul,
Acts 19:12 so that when the handkerchiefs or aprons that had touched his skin were brought to the sick, their diseases left them, and the evil spirits came out of them.
Paul was beginning his ministry in Ephesus and as usual, he started out by preaching in the synagogue. However, after three months the religious folks were no longer willing to listen to Paul. They were even sabotaging his ministry by speaking poorly of him. Because of this difficulty he moved from preaching to the lecture hall. We don’t know who Tyrannus was but it’s believed that he had a large lecture hall where possibly Philosophy was taught in the morning hours. During the heat of the day the hall would not normally have been used so it’s not difficult to imagine that Paul was able to use the hall from 11am until 3-4pm. The Christians may have paid to rent the hall during these hours, or it may have been donated to them for this purpose, but we do know that it became Paul’s practice to have these “hours” in which he could be found at this location. Daily he would lecture in this hall, possibly teaching the very students who studied philosophy in the morning and bringing them to a new philosophy or understanding of truth during his hours at the lectern.
His teaching began to draw massive crowds. The lecture hall probably held more than the synagogue could have held and now he wasn’t just preaching on the sabbath, but every day he was teaching Greeks and Jews alike. Not only was he preaching and teaching, but God was working miracles through him. People were overwhelmed with what they saw and would bring to him pieces of cloth for him to touch and then they would take that home to their sick friends or relatives and they were healed! What happened was amazing.
This was Paul’s plan for ministry. He had a strategy for church planting in a new city and it was one which focused on Christ. His preaching focused on Christ. His teaching focused on people getting to know Christ and in the midst of it all we see that Christ was his pattern. Jesus went about teaching, preaching and healing and now Paul is doing the very same thing. Paul admonished the people to follow him as he followed Christ.
Ministry should include the preaching of Christ. He is the one to be lifted up — he is the one to whom all preaching should point.
Ministry must include teaching — a teaching which challenges people to the very core of their understanding and encourages them to take up their cross and follow Jesus. It is a teaching which is robust enough that it can reach the mind of the philosopher and yet, gentle enough to touch the heart of a child.
Ministry must include healing — in the form of the transformative power of God’s Holy Spirit. This may include physical healing, emotional healing and/or spiritual healing but if there is no touch on the life of people then ministry is lacking.
The city of Ephesus was transformed during Paul’s period of ministry which lasted for nearly three years. A city which had worshipped their own personal goddess and had one of the seven wonders of the ancient world in their midst was brought to their knees by the power and presence of God’s Holy Spirit through the ministry of Paul and his disciples.
Jesus is our model for ministry. All ministry must be Christ centered! Paul followed Christ. Paul encourages us to follow him as he followed Christ. May all ministry point in the direction of Christ — he is the living model.
Lord, may I seek your face today and may you help me follow in your steps. Amen.