The biblical truth about church is not a building but people. Christ sent His disciples to make disciples of all nations (Matt 28:19-20). The word “nations” (ethne) actually means people groups.
One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision, “Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people (many laos as individual person) in this city.” (Acts 18:9-10)
Indeed, Paul ministered in Corinth for another one and a half year, and the church of Corinth was established with divine appointed helpers. Luke was especially interested in mentioning names in the second and third missionary journey (Ch16-20). They had become a network of the Christian community of churches. They were so close and personal with the missionary team, especially with Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles. They went through many spiritual trials such as demonic confrontation, religious persecutions, and riots. Even still, they also participated in celebrations of supporting one another, especially the support of the Jerusalem church.
God created His missionary movement throughout church history by empowering each individual person. God connected them into a network of local churches of all sizes. The power of people in these communities is generated by their growth in grace, and service by showing their giftedness in a network of groups.
The Church in Corinth [Acts 18:1-17; 18:7-11 Giving away your life (P)]: Corinth was a very unique sea port. Paul went there alone but God provided a tent-making couple to help. Aquila and Priscilla provided material needs and companionship with Paul. Even while facing Jewish opposition, the Lord affirmed Paul with a vision that God had many people in the city to form His church.
The Tentmakers in Ephesus [Acts 18:18-28; 18:24-25 Giving away your time (P)]: Paul and the couple moved from Corinth to Ephesus where Paul wanted to go before the Macedonia vision. This was Paul’s brief visit as a field tester. He knew that he would return to Ephesus as a major project on his next mission trip. He left behind the tent-making couple in Ephesus and God provided the well-learned Apollo to pave the road in the formation of the church in Ephesus.
The name of Jesus in Ephesus [Acts 19:1-20; 19:17-20 Faithfulness (V)]: After the ministry of the couple and Apollo in Ephesus, Paul came and met a group of believers who had received the baptism of John. Paul baptized them again in the name of Jesus which led to the descending of the Holy Spirit. The name of Jesus was further developed into a great spiritual movement in Ephesus.
The Christian network [Acts 19:21-41; 19:28-34 Patient (V)]: A spiritual opposition was generated through economic impact among the silversmiths who were profiting through their business of worshipping the goddess Artemis. Though they stirred up a riot with the local people, God sent people from all walks of society to assist in the safety of Paul and his team. The riot was settled without any damage, but also the network of Christians and churches were strengthened.
When God works through his people and churches, that’s when His people will become the agents to shine His glory.