Bosch on Paul’s Missionary Partnership with Churches

David Bosch was a missiological beast. In his chapter on “Mission in Paul” from Transforming Mission, Bosch identified three aspects of Paul’s missionary strategy. First, he argued that Paul targeted the cities. Eckhard Schnabel in his study of Paul concurred, noting that Paul’s “burden” was “to reach as many Jews and Gentiles as possible with the message of salvation in Jesus Christ, wherever they lived” (Paul the Missionary, 282). Second, Bosch showed that Paul’s strategy meant utilizing dozens of coworkers drawn from the churches he planted or encountered. Finally, Bosch argued that Paul set himself up, as an apostle, as an example of following Christ, as a life indistinguishable from the gospel itself. Such as example required a close relationship with local churches in the mission. Thus, close, personal partnership with churches being established in highly populated city centers was a key aspect of Paul’s missionary strategy.

The following is a salient quote from Bosch on Paul’s partnership with local churches in mission (Note: I have removed parenthetical references within the quote):

In his fellow-workers Paul embraces the churches and these identify with his missionary efforts; this is the primary intention of the cooperative mission. Where members of the community are chosen for this work they put their charisma for a certain period at the disposal of the mission, and through their delegates the churches themselves become partners in the entire enterprise. The role of the co-workers only becomes transparent if seen in relation to the churches. This ministry demonstrates the coming of age of the churches. The foundational relationship between the co-workers and their local churches has to be taken into account at all times. Theologically this signifies that Paul regards his mission as a function of the church.

What are some implications of this Pauline strategy for the local church in mission?



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  1. Reblogged this on Buck Burch's Blog and commented:
    Urban, Lay, Life – good post, bro!

  2. As a scholar and historian of mission I must say I like this blog and am now following it. Am curious to know if you have posted anything on Robert Schreiter. He is one of my favorite scholars of mission.

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  5. Rev. Emmanuel S. Mbawa September 8, 2013 — 14:30

    we have just started a new church after our bible study class of twelve students that went on missions. we need yotur partnership and mentorship in continuing mission work of planting churches in our remot villages in Liberia. if you may want to come and see the work, you are highly welcome. feeding and lodging will be provided.

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