The New Life Alliance follow the Hebrew thinking of relationship and church building.
The apostolic pattern of Paul and his team is clear to see once we look at the New Testament as a whole book. Barnabas and Paul, together with their team, set up base in Antioch. This is a multi-cultural community (Acts 13:1-2) that is training and releasing leaders (Acts 15:35). It is a church community of grace where people are being saved (Acts 11:22-27).
They then reach out from their bases in Antioch and preach, teach and release elders in the surrounding provinces (Acts 14). They are involved in planting new churches, Philippi (Acts 16), Thessalonica (Acts 17), Berea (Acts 17) and Corinth (Acts 18, and also involved in returning to existing churches to encourage the believers (Acts 14:21-26; Acts 18:23). Possibly Barnabas stayed in Philippi (Acts 16:40).
Once Paul reached Corinth, situated on the outer limits of the sphere of influence of Antioch, he desires to plant a
new base. He stays in Corinth for 18 months and some time. Clearly, Paul’s heart was that the Corinthian church
would grow up to maturity and overcome their problems. Then as their faith grew, they would be able to
become a base that could send teams out into the surrounding areas and preach the Gospel and establish
churches (2 Cor 10:15-16).
Paul then establishes a second base in Ephesus and it becomes a base where Paul can train leaders and
once again create a model to multiply (Acts 19:10, also Col 1:6-7 & Col 4:13). Paul and his team had an influence
on the whole of Asia (1 Corinthians 16:19), planting churches and training leaders. From Ephesus,
Paul and his team reached out a second time to Corinth (2 Cor 13:1; 12:14 & 8:10) and also reached out
to Crete (Titus 1:5), Macedonia (Acts 20:1), Greece (Acts 20:2), Troas (Acts 20:5; 2 Corinthians 2:12-13), Galatia
(1 Cor 16:1) and possibly Rome (Rom 16:7). Paul’s plan is to teach as far as Spain (Rom 15:24) but this time his plan is
to move on from Asia (Romans 15:23) and to use Rome as a base (Rom 15:24). Paul and his team eventually get to
use Rome as a base.
Paul’s clear strategy is to work with a team, training faithful men to train faithful men (2 Tim 2:2).
He uses key cities with geographic and political influence to establish key bases that can influence the surrounding
area by planting churches and preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom. Each church, as it matures, can then be
a base to encourage believers, train leaders and plant new churches in its sphere of influence. Paul draws faithful men
from each to make up his trans-local teams and also uses both Jews and Greeks in his team (Col 4:11-12). Paul uses
business persons (Acts 18:2, 3 & 19, Romans 16:3-5), civic leaders (Acts 19:22, Rom 16:23) and religious leaders
(Acts 18:8) to help plant churches. Paul is based in a local church but his ministry is trans-local.
He is training others so that he can hand over ministry responsibility to them (Titus 1:7; 1 Tim 1:3) so that he can
move on from where he has preached aiming at where the Gospel has not been preached (Rom 15:19-20 &Acts 16:10).
Each local church has a sphere of influence through which it can impact and change. Each local church can extend
this sphere of influence by sending out short-term teams and by sending out church planters. Trans-local teams
help to network and connect local churches.
Trans-local teams help to prepare the saints for the work of the ministry (Ephe 4:12) and help to set good biblical foundations into churches (Ephe 2:20). God’s plan is that local churches are autonomous and are governed by the shepherds who know the sheep. But also God wants local churches to work in partnership with apostolic-prophetic trans-local teams so that the church can be strengthened in the faith and grow in numbers (Acts 15:5). Local leaders need to release trans-local ministries as God calls (Acts 13:1-4).
Trans-local ministries need to release local elders (Acts 14:23).
When we build according to the New Testament pattern, we will see New Testament results! Not only local church growth, but also church planting in un-reached areas. This is not a new hierarchy, nor super apostles becoming the leaders of super denominations.
The Lord is calling us to servant leadership to give more that we receive (Acts 20:35) and to be co-laborers together with Him to build the church (1 Corinthians 3:5-9).
The local church needs to train up leaders and become the base for sending out church planters. God’s people need to hear God’s call. Local elders, and particularly, church planters need to be networking and working together with Ephesians 4 trans-local teams (Apostolic Prophetic Teams). We need to be praying for the Lord of the harvest to release workers so that Bible-based churches can be planted in un-reached nations. (The 10-40 window is just one area where we need to focus and see churches planted so that disciples of Jesus can be made).
This is the church’s finest hour. We need to choke apathy and fear to death. We need to light a blazing fire of passion for Jesus in our hearts and let the Living Word be in our mouths so that God’s glory can once again be seen in His Church. In a spirit of love we must reach out to those who have not heard, we must kick in the gates of hell and set the captives free. With the sharp two-edged sword in our hands we must be fully determined to crown Christ as King. We must be armed and dangerous, ready for war, lifting up the precious name of our Saviour and King.
We must train leaders so that together we can plant churches in every nation, city, village, small town, in every valley and on every high hill where people live.
Arise, oh Bride of Christ, put on your robes of righteousness and let’s prepare the planet for the return of our Saviour, our Lover, our Friend, our King---Jesus!!!