Teachers and Prophets in the Church of Antioch
"Now in the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul."(Acts 13:1)
Many wonder what would be the best strategy to accomplish church planting successfully. Before different strategies or methodologies are discussed, church planters are called to review what the Scripture presents as a model of a new church. Paul and Barnabas ministered at the church in Antioch, which especially set a good example of the structure and form of a healthy church. The revival comes in a simple way when you follow the ways that bible teaches us.
The word "Christian" was first used in the church of Antioch to refer to believers. The Jerusalem church, led by disciples, was strongly focused on reaching out to Jews whereas the church in Antioch kept expanding by delivering the gospel to Gentiles. From a missiological perspective, Antioch church carried a significant meaning for the churches born subsequently as a role model for the mission.
In the church at Antioch, there were prophets and teachers. One of the important principles of church planting is to find and set up teachers and prophets. The form of the Antioch Church signifies the fact that church experiences exponential growth if these two roles are firmly established. It is notable that the role of "apostles" is missing. However, as the church grows gaining more people, the position of apostles, fulfilled by pastors today, becomes significant.
The pastor is the one who has been given the staff [Scepter], which symbolizes the authority and power from God.
But as a pastor, you should not work alone, but strive to find either Prophet or teacher. This implies that the church planting involves teamwork, a kind of team building that requires continual adding of new staff and leaders. The major reason why church planting fails is that they fail to find co-workers. If one person takes charge of every role, the church can't be established properly.
"The fire must be kept burning on the altar continuously; it must not go out." (Leviticus 6:13)
We should not extinguish the fire of prayer and the truth in the church. The Word and Prayer are the keys to bring revival and keep spreading the fire. A prophet is a vertical person who receives the revelation, closely coworking with the apostle, which is the pastor. On the other hand, a teacher is a horizontal one who teaches the word that has been already proclaimed.
Which one should be set up first or is more important? Both are equally significant. If the prayer person is found first, then it starts with the Spirit, and if the teacher comes first, then it starts with the Truth.
The church in Antioch built a momentum that sparked a spreading revival in the Gentile world. The strategic point which contributed to this success was that these two roles were solid and active within the church. This brings all pastors to examine these: Do we have fully equipped and eloquent teachers of the Bible who keep gathering people to give Bible lectures? And does a church also have people dedicated to the prayer and sharing prophecies given by the Lord?
If there are names clearly on the list under these two roles of Bible Teachers and Prophets, the church will thrive increasing and gaining many new believers.