As mentioned in our last visit, Paul refined his strategy by focusing his attention on major cities. If strong churches were planted in major cities like Corinth, Ephesus or Rome, whole regions could be reached through their witness.
In the normal course of life people visit major population centers for business purposes. Other attractions draw people to the city as well, such as the arts, academics and religion. Sometimes the draw is more sinister, evil or immoral. Either way, God can reach people in the marketplace, theater or temple. Once reached, they can be equipped. When they return home God can use them to reach people in their own home town and establish churches there. This happened when Paul settled in Ephesus.
After he was turned away from the synagogue, “Paul…took the disciples with him and had discussions daily in the lecture hall of Tyrannus. This went on for two years, so that all the Jews and Greeks who lived in the province of Asia heard the word of the Lord” (Acts 19:9-10).
Remember, the Holy Spirit kept Paul from ministering in Asia on a previous trip. Now the region was reached through those reached in Ephesus! Isn’t it fascinating to see how God works when we see it through the magnifying glass of hind-sight? Paul didn’t lose time when he experienced those delays years ago. He saved time! Most of the 1st century churches located in the area now known as western Turkey were started that way.
Paul’s new strategy worked well so long as the churches stayed healthy.