7 Lessons from Paul for Missionaries Facing Hindrances

In the last verses of the book of Acts, the author Luke writes about Paul awaiting trial, guarded by a Roman soldier and unfairly chained (28:16, 20), and he was “proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance” (28:31).

In missions we all want the ‘without hindrance’ part! But God may have different plans for his and our good.

By Alex Tee

Here are 7 things we can learn from Paul’s example during times of trials and hindrances:

7lessons from paul

Paul was part of a bigger movement of God. It wasn’t about him – he had received too much grace for that! When he arrived in Rome, although the gospel was known, he was not known among the non-believing Jews (28:21). From Paul we learn that being used in missions is not about being a super Christian or being well-known. Are we willing to live to be forgotten?


Paul had a clear call which wasn’t thwarted by injustice. His calling did not change because of unfair treatment. Neither was his call something vague that he had decided upon when his head was in the clouds at a retreat.  Are we sticking to our call?


Within the unjust justice system, Paul knew his rights (as a Roman citizen) and argued tactfully for his just treatment (25:11, 28:19). Yet it never became a fight against injustice and it never made him lose sight of Jesus and the Kingdom of God. The gospel came first. His eyes stayed upon Jehovah. We can also learn a lot from brothers and sisters who are experiencing persecution today in indigenous missions movements that do cross-cultural ministry. The gospel is not chained!
(2 Tim. 2:9)

Paul was prepared in season and out of season (2 Tim. 4:2).  What kind of vision do you need to have to be useful in this way?  Paul was sitting in prison and, without warning, he was suddenly called before King Agrippa (Ch. 25-26), and he was able to give a tactful account of his faith and hope.  At the orientation course with OMF in Singapore, our general director admonished us to be ready “to preach, pray or die at a moment’s notice.”


In prison, Paul used his time well. Missions did not take a break. Paul prayed for the churches. He wrote letters to these believers, many that went viral (I bet you have read some of them). These churches he prayed for were churches he had planted–or plants from those–during his strategic missions journeys. He did not forget that work – it was all part of the one call upon his life.


Paul wasn’t alone – he had people that ministered to him (e.g., 28:15). He was grateful for encouragements – from friends, as well as from seeking God’s presence. Thus we should share our burdens with others and let them minister back.


Paul did not do everything in missions. He, and you and I, each have unique parts to play. There were unique things that Paul could do, and others he could not. What Paul couldn’t do, God used others to do (each person with his own gifts, quirks and uniqueness). You can trust that God knows where to place you (even when you can’t plan it), and you will be in the right place as long as you look to him!


Paul knew his call, and either in strategized missions or on an unplanned journey, he kept to it. It wasn’t about him: it was about the Savior. As you face the challenges, will you fight them or ride with them?  Let’s trace the One Cause, and trust and join him!

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