After the death of Stephen, a great wave of persecution began to sweep over the Church in Jerusalem. This causes a stir among the believers as they were made to run for their lives. Moreover, instead of the believers being discouraged by this persecution, it becomes rather an inciting incident that draws them even deeper into the spread of God’s kingdom. Acts 8:4 tells us that “But the believers who were scattered preached the Good News about Jesus wherever they went.”
Whereas the Apostles remained at Jerusalem to continue with the kingdom work, this “ministry of personal evangelism” by the believers contributed immensely to the tremendous growth of the early Church. For instance, we see how Philip went to the city of Samaria and evangelized about the Messiah. We are told that “the crowds listened intently to Philip because they were eager to hear his message and see the miraculous signs he did.”
Subsequently, Philip’s work in the chapter would result in the beginning of the Church in Samaria and the conversion of certain notable people like Simon, the sorcerer, as well as the Ethiopian eunuch. Later, Simon would also be baptized, as were many people in Samaria. (verses 12 and 13). Philip further went along, preaching the word in every town he got to on his way to Caesarea.
Here, we see how the believers (not only the Apostles) begin to create a ministry space for themselves in the church, and eventually contributed to its growth. To borrow from the lyrics of the popular hymn “Hark the voice of Jesus calling”, “If you cannot cross the ocean and the heathen lands explore, you can find the heathen nearer, you can help them at your door… If you cannot speak like angels, if you cannot preach like Paul, you can tell the love of Jesus. You can say He died for all.”