While they were worshipping the Lord and
fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for
me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which
I have called them.” Then after fasting
and praying they laid their hands on them
and sent them off.
Acts 13:2-3

Acts 13:1-52

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We first met the church in Antioch in chapter 11 and learn that it was here that believers were first called “Christians” (Acts 11:26).

After a brief return to the Jerusalem church in chapter 12, the narrative comes back to Antioch in today's reading. Acts 13-15:35 focus on the mission of the Antioch church. From this point forward the good news of Jesus begins its ever expanding reach to the Gentile world.

How will God reach the people of the world?

By setting apart women and men to serve as evangelists and missionaries.

In verse 2 we read that as the church was worshiping and fasting, “the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”

The church responds by fasting and praying for Barnabas and Saul, laying hands on them (commissioning them) and sending them off on their mission.

All believers are called to be in ministry as a part of their discipleship. God has uniquely created you and placed within you unique combinations of gifts, strengths, and talents.

No matter your age, no matter your station in life. Our first call is to follow Christ, and our second call is to something specific in the world.

For some, that specific call is to set apart ministry like Barnabas and Saul.
God is still calling women and men to live as apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds, and teachers to equip the people of our church for ministry (see Ephesians 4:11-13 ).

How is God calling you?

Today, ask God to help every member of our church discover and live out the ministry the Spirit is calling them to. Also pray for God to raise up a new generation of women and men from our church for set apart ministry.

O God, you led your holy apostles to ordain ministers in every place: Grant that your Church, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, may choose suitable persons for the ministry of Word and Sacrament, and may uphold them in their work for the extension of your kingdom; through the great Shepherd and Bishop of our souls, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.