Ed Compean pastors Calvary Chapel Githurai, in Nairobi, Kenya. For more info, go to the church website at calvarygithurai.org. This is Part 2 of a 2-part blog series on the church in Ephesus. You can read Part 1 here.
Ephesus had Exponential Expansion
Revelation chapters two and three record letters Jesus wrote to a cluster of churches that came from the plant at Ephesus. Paul infers in Colossians, that Epaphras planted a cluster of three churches in the Lycus River Valley, which included one of the Revelation churches, but also Colossae and Hierapolis (Col 4:13). Since Paul had never been to Colossae, we can presume Epaphras received his training in Ephesus. This also allows us to discern the seven churches of Revelation are far from an exhaustive list of the local churches that resulted from the initial plant at Ephesus.
Ephesus not only exponentially expanded the influence of the Body of Christ through a local cluster of churches in Asia Minor, but they took advantage of the cross-cultural people in their midst to expand influence cross-culturally. Aquila and Priscilla helped establish the church in Ephesus as refugees from persecution in Rome, but several years later they had apparently returned to that city and planted a church in their home (Rom 6:2). They were just two of over 25 people Paul greets by name, plus multiple households, in Romans 16. One of those people is Epaenetus, who Paul calls the first convert in Asia Minor (Rom 16:6). All those relationships and influence for Christ was in a city he had not been to, but God had used him to impart an expectation to expand the Body of Christ.
What We Can Take Away from Ephesus Church Plant
Since October 2012 the Lord has allowed Calvary Church Planting Network much influence with direct impact on at least 25 Calvary Chapel church plants. The network has begin to train and mobilize 133 mentors with 366 potential church planters for what appears to be a very fruitful next season. Those numbers are good, and worthy of praising God for, but the pace is slow and the task in front remains overwhelming. The work is important because Jesus gave His life for it. It seems preparing for a movement rather than a single plant would be profitable and good. God’s word gives that example.
The work is important because Jesus gave His life for it. It seems preparing for a movement rather than a single plant would be profitable and good.
A few hundred words on a blog will not solve the problem of the need for more churches to teach through the Bible and have a healthy view of the ministry of the Holy Spirit. It is certainly not the place to offer training. Instead this is a small Bible study with an emphasis to think and act towards church planting movements and not only single plants. This will be best done by encouraging planters to glean from Ephesus and its ability to train leaders to plant in its regions and beyond. It is doing what Paul told the pastor at Ephesus to do, “And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also (2 Tim 2:2).”