22 Then the apostles and elders, with the whole church, decided to choose some of their own men and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They chose Judas (called Barsabbas) and Silas, men who were leaders among the believers. 23 With them they sent the following letter:
The apostles and elders, your brothers,
To the Gentile believers in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia:
24 We have heard that some went out from us without our authorization and disturbed you, troubling your minds by what they said. 25 So we all agreed to choose some men and send them to you with our dear friends Barnabas and Paul— 26 men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 Therefore we are sending Judas and Silas to confirm by word of mouth what we are writing. 28 It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: 29 You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things.
Farewell. Acts 15:22-29
Leaders in the Church now started to take control of situations. Prior to this, we saw itinerant preachers going from town to town preaching the Gospel. The church was old enough now to make its own decisions. That also meant that they didn’t need to rely on the disciples as they experienced everyday church life. It normally takes churches a long time to get to this point because problems arise every step of the way. Throughout the rest of this book and the New Testament we will see the kinds of problems they faced.
Down through the centuries, God has used the local church for sustained growth and development. It’s easy for a preacher to preach to tens of thousands. When that preacher moves elsewhere, the local church has to begin the long and arduous task of discipleship.
As a free piece of advice: any time an evangelist gives you stats about how many were at the crusade he held (here in the West or in a foreign country) and how many accepted Christ, ask how many are still in churches a year later? If the person doesn’t know, then he has not done a good job of followup with churches who are able to disciples those new Believers. The evangelist isn’t trying to be deceptive. It’s just that he hasn’t presented the whole truth to you.
Pray for your pastor and his wife. Then let them know with a card, phone call, email, or text. They’ll be glad you let them know.