The Acts 13 Model
Brothers, the gospel will not advance by your moping in the corner of a coffee shop nursing a macchiato with the latest Marylyn Robinson or Thomas Pynchon book sitting (unread) on the table. That’s not the forum of Athens, not even close. Roll those shoulders back, hold your head high, and pick a strategic point of engagement.
Really Cutting Edge Missiology
Someone should write a modern Christian missions book based on Acts 13. Maybe there should be a church planting network too. I will go ahead and give you the gist of what I’m thinking. It will be a hoot and a total screed; maybe even a good solvent.
There’ve been gaggles of popular books written in the last 20 years about missions that basically advocate going to Brooklyn, opening a hipster coffee shop and quietly biding your time. Maybe after a decade or two you will have earned sufficient trust from a couple people to whisper about your faith journey with them. But in the meantime, enjoy being in the City! A place in which it is very special and pious to be.
Missionaries, what I am about to tell you is nothing short of radical, a call that will totally remake the way you think about your vocation. You see, we all swim in a very safe and comfortable sort of American Christianity where Christians go to the big city as diplomats for the Kingdom (and get to enjoy that cultured diplomatic lifestyle along that way). But the very powerful missionary strategies contained in Acts 13 will call you to adopt an iron age mindset. Now, I can already hear the naysayers: “Josh, stop—it’s not appropriate to contextualize in this way; you’re just cherry picking the New Testament for missional strategies that you happen to like.” Well, such methodological scruples didn’t hinder Center Church and needn’t hinder us.
Aim for the Top
Missionaries, when you arrive at a town (by the way, you’ll be doing this a lot, because you’ll also be shaking the dust off your sandals—but more on that later), it’s always good to get in front of the top guy. Paul and Barnabas got in front of the proconsul of Paphos in no time at all. What have you been doing recently, to get in front of Gavin Newsom or Eric Adams with the unadulterated spiciness of the gospel? Sometimes it is tempting to stay in your comfort zone, keep your head down, and focus on the marginalized, but you need to aim higher. You need to be going to toastmasters and practicing your oratory for when you get the chance to waltz right into the halls of power to tell them who is Lord. Do you even want to win a new Constantine for the Kingdom, bro?