apoLuo WORKSHOP CONTENT #001: apo…WHAT?
#1 in a series devoted to sending churches. The content of this post is adapted from BMW’s 6-hour apoLuo workshop. Numbered articles are intended to be read sequentially for maximum benefit.
That’s apo-luo, not apo-luau. No need to run out and look for a lei and a grass skirt.
If you’ve given Acts 13 a close reading, you may recognize apoluo as the verb used in verse 3:
“Then, after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off.”
That’s it, right there at the end—they “sent them off.”
This international church with multi-ethnic leadership was the perfect launching pad for PHASE III of Jesus’ global strategy. He had told the apostles in Acts 1.8 that they would be His “witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
Antioch was the beginning of the end of the earth.
As we’ll see in subsequent posts, nothing has changed. God’s strategy for reaching the world is the same, but much of it is still unreached. And it’s all because apoluo is not happening.
Many churches in our culture have become preoccupied with either addition or survival—not reproduction. That’s odd, isn’t it? Because if we take even a cursory look at the natural world we realize that no species survives that doesn’t reproduce. Growth is not reproduction—not in a living organism, and not in a church. Reproduction is the essence of survival.
apoluo is all about reproduction. In other places in the New Testament, this verb is used for divorce, for sending away the multitudes, for releasing prisoners. Here, it communicates the idea that the Antioch congregation was committing an act of reproduction. Remember blowing on those big dandelion puff balls as a child? That was what happened at Antioch—it was as if the Holy Spirit blew on that congregation, loosening the seeds that—when released—would eventually take root all over the Roman Empire.
In fact, you’re reading these words because of what happened in Antioch.
BMW is committed not only to the idea of churches sending off missionaries to the end of the earth. We’re also committed to the churches that send them. That’s why we’re providing the materials on this blog. We’d like to share the things we’re learning so more churches will recognize both their responsibility and capability to be senders, not just survivors.
Consider it just another act of reproduction. Like blowing on one of those big, dandelion puff balls.
Rob Heijermans, Biblical Ministries Worldwide
*Unless otherwise noted, all the Scripture quotations in my posts are from the English Standard Version.