It was a good work! The gospel had been spreading and advancing. Acts 11:21 tells us, “The Lord’s hand was with them and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord.” A few verses later, it was at this church that disciples were first called Christians. The last verses of the chapter illustrate the love flowing through the congregation, as they generously gathered a gift of help for the saints in Judea, who were going through a famine. This church was a wonderful example to the entire brotherhood of peace in the midst of diversity. They worked together in harmony, despite the fact most of them were Gentiles. In Acts 13:1, it even appears one of their main leaders, Simeon, was an African. The Antioch congegation had a lot going for it. It was destined to become, for awhile, the largest assembly of God’s people, anywhere on earth.
Yet, in the midst of this success, Acts 13:2, the Holy Spirit tapped on the shoulders of Barnabas and Saul, saying He was calling them to another work. Without hesitation, they made preparations to embark on what we sometimes call The First Missionary Journey. Not only did the two of them exhibit this pioneering spirit, but the church backed them in the decision. With prayer and fasting the brethren laid hands on them and sent them off. The result, over the next chapters, was Christ’s kingdom in places it would not have been, otherwise.
In similar fashion, Melody and I are leaving Parkway Drive, today. There is other work to be done and other places where we are more needed than in your midst. As we depart we ask for the same prayers Barnabas and Saul received so many centuries ago. We, in turn, will pray for you. As the Antioch church continued to prosper in the absence of Barnabas and Saul, we pray the congregation here will also continue to move forward. As we leave, we challenge all members to take just one step forward. The hole left behind will quickly fill if each individual begins to do just one act of service you have not been doing before. We love you! May God bless Cooper and may God bless Parkway Drive!
— Monty Huffman