You have found the Propempo Perspective podcast. Hello and welcome to the Propempo Perspective podcast. This is our first episode and we're going to answer the primary question of what is the Propempo perspective, and we're going to do it biblically and practically. So I hope you'll stay with us for a fast 15 minutes of discussion about missions issues from the Propempo perspective.
First of all, in order to understand Propempo’s perspective, you need to understand the term Propempo in the scriptures. We're going to do a quick Bible study here looking at the occurrences of the word Propempo and how it's used, and we're going to see how that applies to missions today and what difference it makes. So if you have your Bible, you can turn to Acts chapter 15. We're going to look at verse three. I'll read these scriptures in case you're running or driving or not having a Bible right in front of you. That's okay. So, Acts 15:3 says this,
"So being sent on their way by the church, they passed through both Fania and Samaria, describing in detail the conversion of the Gentiles and brought great joy to all the brothers."
Now we're jumping into the middle of a scene here that's very, very important. In the early church, acts 15 was the story of the Jerusalem Council in which the leaders of the apostles, elders from Jerusalem and those sent down from the church in Antioch were coming together in order to decide whether or not the Gentiles needed to follow Jewish ceremonial law in order to become believers, in order to be Christians. And this was a very important decision to make. Paul and Barnabas had been on their first missionary trip and they discovered that no, people were being saved completely apart from Jewish law. Gentiles were getting saved, Jews were getting saved, and it had nothing to do with the Jewish law per se, so they were sent on their way by the church.
Sent on their way
This being sent on their way is the term Propempo, and it infers a number of things that they were sent with authority to speak on behalf of the church to this council. It was implying that they were given whatever they needed for their trip. So travel expenses, whatever expenses it took for food accommodations, they were going to be taken care of by the church as they were sent on their way to do whatever tasks the church had appointed them to do. In Acts 20:38 Paul is speaking to the Ephesian elders and those that had been in the church planted by Paul. He was taking their leave returning to Jerusalem and being sorrowful, most of all because of the word he had spoken that they would not see his face again and they accompanied him to the ship. So these dear people that loved Paul for his ministry to them were sorrowful because he told them that he wouldn't be coming back again and they accompanied him to the ship is this term Propempo.
They accompanied him. It also infers that they are participating with him. They are encouraging him along the way, and so he makes his way to Jerusalem. Just a few verses down, acts 21, verse five is the next occurrence. It says this Acts 21:5,
"When our days there were ended, we departed and went on our journey and they all with wives and children accompanied us until we were outside the city and kneeling down on the beach we prayed."
So this again is Paul continuing on his journey and he visits a couple of cities and islands along the way of believers as the ships in those days would do sort of short hopping their way across a big expanse, these dear believers accompanied us. That's the Propempo term. You're beginning to get that now until we were outside the city. So again, it has this picture of solidarity, of partnership, almost certainly included some material supply along the way.
this picture of solidarity, of partnership, almost certainly included some material supply along the way.
Partnership with the church in Rome going to Spain
We're going to skip all the way over to Romans 15, the next occurrence. Romans 15:24, and here's what it says near the conclusion of this fantastic book of Romans.
"I hope to see you in passing as I go to Spain and to be helped on my journey, thereby you once. I have enjoyed your company for a while. Paul is writing to the local church in Rome and he expects them to fulfill this request to be helped on my journey, thereby you."
That's the Propempo word again. So we see it's a specific partnership, but it's also with the view to sending someone out to a place where the gospel hasn't gone before to an unreached people group as it were. In fact, Paul explains earlier in this chapter, and as he walks through the verse that is part of this context, he's been to so many other places, the gospel has been, and he wants to go to Spain to take the gospel there. This context here infers that people from the church in Rome would accompany him as well, that they would go along with him, that they would share in the partnership, not just in the supply for his ministry, but in having teammates for his ministry as well.
Embraced by the church
Let's move along to 1 Corinthians 16. There's a couple of verses here, verse six, I'll pick it up in verse five says this, Paul says,
"I will visit you after passing through Macedonia, or I intend to pass through Macedonia and perhaps I will stay with you or even spend the winter so that you may help me on my journey wherever I go."
So again, this is the Propempo word. You may "help me on my journey," and it certainly infers material supply to do the work of the ministry. "Wherever I go", he says, so it's not specific to a place, it is a relationship with the missionary minister and that ministry.
So he expects the church to embrace him, to support him, to encourage and partner with him in the ministry, wherever that is, whatever plans he has. Just a few verses down. He talks about Timothy in verses 10 and 11. And verse 11, it has another occurrence of Propempo,
"when Timothy comes see that you put him at ease among you, for he is doing the work of the Lord as I am."
So let no one despise him, help him on his way in peace, that "help him on his way," is Propempo. "In peace that he may return to me where I'm expecting him with the brothers." So again, here's the context of a faithful minister, a disciple, a partner, and a legate of Paul as an apostle who is going to be at the church. And Paul says, you make sure you take care of him, help him on his way. This is most certainly an ask for material supply to do whatever it is that Timothy is charged to do in his missionary ministry.
See that they lack nothing
2 Corinthians 1:16 is the next occurrence. He says,
"I wanted to visit you on my way to Macedonia and to come back to you from Macedonia and have you send me on my way to Judea."
So that phrase, "have you send me on my way," is Propempo again. The thought is he's going to visit the church, he's going to hang out with them and fellowship with them. He may teach them for a while, but as he moves on, he expects them to participate in sending him on his way and Propempo-ing him to the next place of ministry. As he mentions in First Corinthians and later again in second Corinthians, the believers in Macedonia have done this all along consistently supporting, helping praying for Paul in his ministry.
So you see these local churches participating with a Propempo perspective in sending out missionaries from their midst. The next occurrence is going to take us all the way over to Titus 3. So we'll go to Titus 3:13 in these closing words of this pastoral epistle. Paul writes to Titus, he says,
"do your best to speed Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their way. See that they lack nothing."
So the speed Zenas the lawyer and Apollos "speed them on their way" is the Propempo word, and he makes it a little sharper in saying, "see that they lack nothing." This Propempo term now has grown from its original first use, having an authoritative messenger from the church to all of the support needs and whatever they need. See that they lack nothing to accomplish the ministry to which they are called to do. So here we have a much fuller understanding much later in Paul's ministry as the local church understands it, they're supposed to do whatever it takes to help these guys achieve their goals in ministry, legitimate goals in ministry.
they're supposed to do whatever it takes to help these guys achieve their goals in ministry
In a manner worthy of God
The next and last occurrence is in the little epistle of third John, and again, this is jumping in the middle of the context, but for sake of time, here's 3 John 5-8. The Propempo occurrence is in verse six.
"Beloved, it is a faithful thing you do in all your efforts for these brothers, strangers, as they are who testified to your love before the church, you will do well to send them on their journey in a manner worthy of God for they have gone out for the sake of the name accepting nothing from the Gentiles. Therefore, we ought to support people like these that we may be fellow workers for the truth."
So this send them on their journey in a manner worthy of God is the Propempo term. And that whole context I read versus five through eight kind of explains that they're supposed to take care of them, provide hospitality for them, support them certainly financially in prayer, and enable them to do their ministry.
The centrality of the local church in sending
So the Propempo perspective has a lot to do with the centrality of the local church and the role of support and sending and shepherding missionaries, the Propempo perspective, colors, everything we in Propempo International think about and do in our ministry. Because this Propempo perspective puts things in this biblical context from the first century to the 21st century of how the local church does missions and how we relate to missionaries. There are some Propempo distinctives that you can find on our website. We're certainly local church centric in our thinking.
We believe, and it will be another podcast that the fulfillment of the Great commission requires the planting of local churches. This is a dramatic change for how it's presented by so many missionary agencies and parachurch agencies today. Local church centric. In our thinking about the Great commission, we have a high biblical view of God, of scripture and the local church's role. We see every church as unique and we're supported by faith in God through donor partners. So we have faith support like so many missionaries out there on the field. Propempo staff basically are supported through the donations of those that Propempo us to do our job. We also focus on helping churches identify, train, guide, send support, and shepherd their own people strategically to unreached peoples of the world. We have a strong sense that biblical local churches are the goal of missions, not anything less than that.
We also have clear thinking with regard to dynamic practice in the local church and on the field with strategic choices and how our choices can have a lasting impact ultimately in fulfillment of the great commission through planting and strengthening healthy biblical churches in every people group on earth.
Thanks for listening
Thanks for listening. We hope that you'll stay with us for further episodes. We're going to cover things like how the fulfillment of the Great Commission requires the planting of local churches. We're going to cover other biblical topics that have a bearing on how we think about missions and what our values are in missions, particularly as local churches. It does have an impact on how we relate to our missionaries, what missionaries we choose to support, how we develop missionaries and equip them to be biblically qualified for long term, effective, faithful service. So stay tuned as we work through this together. God bless.
Hey, I want to thank you again for joining us. We'd like to hear from you. We'd love to be of assistance to help you in any way. You can always find lots of resources on propempo.com. If you register there, you'll be able to leave comments on our website. Check us out at Vimeo and YouTube to find lots of video resources.
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