Acts 13:2,3 – While they were serving the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set Barnabas and Saul apart for Me for the work to which I have called them.” Then, when they had fasted, prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.
There are two very important things to take note of in order to be sent out into a fruitful gospel ministry. First, notice the Holy Spirit said in today’s passage to send out Barnabus and Paul. Secondly, Barnabus and Paul looked to the church for authority and spiritual power before they went out. The Lord had spoken to Paul and Barnabus and gave a clear prophetic word to the church about this important mission. The church responded, laid their hands upon them, and sent them out. Horton shows the importance of the word from the Lord.
“During the service, the Holy Spirit took the initiative: He spoke, commanding the whole church to “set apart” for Him Barnabas and Saul for the work to which He had (already) called them….Jesus had already called Saul as an apostle to the Gentiles. He had commissioned Barnabas as an apostle (“sent one”).”
The ESV Study Bible emphasizes the importance of having the backing of the local church in being sent out.
“They again probably refers to the entire congregation rather than just the five “prophets and teachers”, since Paul and Barnabas were a part of that latter group. The laying on of hands was a “commissioning,” indicating the church’s support of the two in their mission, and providing a physical indication of imparting the Holy Spirit’s power to them.”
I remember the very important moment when I was sent out by the church I was part of in California to pastor the church in New Orleans. First, the Lord had been speaking to Parris and I about returning to New Orleans for ministry. I went to my elders (pastors) and told them what we were feeling. The elders set aside three days to fast and seek the Lord about direction for me and my ministry. The Lord confirmed my calling to New Orleans to my pastors as we gathered for prayer and guidance. The rest was simple, the congregation laid handsome us and sent us out to return to New Orleans for ministry. That was back in the summer of 1977, we have been ministering in New Orleans ever since. If you feel the Lord has spoken to you about going out into ministry go to your pastors, this is the place of protection, spiritual authority, and power.