Acts 16:40 After Paul and Silas came out of the prison, they went to Lydia’s house, where they met with the brothers and sisters and encouraged them. Then they left.
So here is the new fledgling church that Paul and Silas came to encourage before they departed the city. The members of that church were probably the slave girl, Lydia the business lady and her household, the jailer and his household and likely others. Plus Luke!
“Then they left” Luke writes. Obviously they left without him. Luke stayed to help, maybe to bring some more vision and organisation to the church. Certainly it was to help them.
Mission involves people who go but also people who stay so that others can keep going.
I have just come back to my hotel room having been at the most amazing service here in Chennai. The Church rents out a very large auditorium and the work that is needed comes from a group of dedicated members who just make it happen. The Pastor doesn’t do this work. His ministry is different. He is the visionary leader and has an expanding ministry to several nations. It is the people he has trained up who keep the Church functioning with their celebration services. Of course they are not the exception. Around the world this can be replicated every day of the week.
Why do I mention this? Simply because although my role as International Missions Director is to encourage people to GO into all the world and I am working towards seeing a global church planting movement in every nation of the world, I also know the huge importance of those who stay behind.
We need the ‘Luke’ who will say “It’s okay you keep going I will stay behind and help structure the Church, lead the Church, strengthen the Church and encourage the Church. I will help the Church.”
In whatever capacity, if you are a ‘Luke’ today, thank you, the Church needs you, you are indeed very important to the future. Thank you for staying.