Source of light

Daily Reading for June 8 • Roland Allen, Mission Strategist, 1947

St. Paul’s theory of evangelizing a province was not to preach in every place in it himself, but to establish centres of Christian life in two or three important places from which the knowledge might spread into the country round. This is important, not as showing that he preferred to preach in a capital rather than in a provincial town or in a village, but because he intended his congregation to become at once a centre of light. Important cities may be made the graves of a mission as easily as villages. There is no particular virtue in attacking a centre or establishing a church in an important place unless the church established in the important place is a church possessed of sufficient life to be a source of light to the whole country round.

It is not enough for the church to be established in a place where many are coming and going unless the people who come and go not only learn the Gospel, but learn it in such a way that they can propagate it. It has often happened that a mission has been established in an important city, and the surrounding country has been left untouched so far as the efforts of the native Christians have been concerned, because the Gospel was preached in such a form that the native convert who himself received it did not understand how to spread it, nor realize that it was entrusted to him for that purpose.

From Missionary Methods: St. Paul’s or Ours? by Roland Allen (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1962).

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