And he entered the synagogue and for three months spoke boldly, reasoning and persuading them about the kingdom of God. 9 But when some became stubborn and continued in unbelief, speaking evil of the Way before the congregation, he withdrew from them and took the disciples with him, reasoning daily in the hall of Tyrannus. 10 This continued for two years, so that all the residents of Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks. – Acts 19:8-10
San Diego County has approximately 3.3 million people. According to one estimate (based some available statistics and some educated guessing), the amount of lostness is 87.1%. That is, 87.1% of the population of San Diego County does not have a saving relationship with Jesus Christ. That amounts to 2,874,300 souls far from God just in San Diego County. If you live elsewhere, you can do a little googling around and find this kind of information for your community.
I want to see this as the harvest field for Jesus-followers in this county. It is a big vision to see all of the residents of San Diego County hearing the word of the Lord, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and plain vanilla gentile unbelievers.
I believe the Book of Acts is a picture of the prototypical church, not the primitive church. What do I mean by that? There is one view that the early church was primitive and now we have developed protocols, organizations, structures, doctrinal statements, etc., so we are a more mature church than what we saw in the Book of Acts. We have added all sorts of extra-Biblical elements to the church that actually impede God’s plan for us. We in the West are especially guilty, in my opinion.
The Book of Acts, as prototypical, means that we should follow the patterns demonstrated in Acts. One of those, from a vision point of view, is here in Acts 19. Paul started out in the synagogue for about three months and uncovered some good soil. That produced a bit of persecution so Paul left the synagogue (or maybe he was thrown out) and set up in a private hall or as another translation has it, a school of Tyrannus. He remained there making disciple-makers and leaders who took the gospel to the surrounding region. One example is Epaphras (Colossians 1:7) who took the gospel to Colossae. Epaphras repeated the process he had learned in Ephesus and planted the church at Colossae. It is apparent that this process was repeated, probably hundreds of times, with other disciple-makers so that in two years every resident of Asia has heard the word of God. So, Paul had to move on to new territories to reach the unreached.
I encourage you to look carefully at the Book of Acts and see the patterns for disciple-making, which is just another way of saying they were pursuing the completion of the Great Commission. Ask yourself what you can do to be obedient to what you learn in the Book of Acts.
And, join me in prayer for laborers (disciple-makers) who can do like Epaphras and make disciples all around San Diego County. Consider that you too, if you are a believer in Jesus, are both a new creation in Christ and an Ambassador for him, just like Epaphras. (2 Corinthians 5:17-21)