The Book of Acts is often studied and presented in sermons and in Sunday School lessons as interesting church history, but little more. Some spiritual principles may be drawn out of its stories, but the idea that the Holy Spirit gave Acts to the church to be our handbook or training manual for how to fulfill the Great Commission is often overlooked. "That was then" most will say, "but this is a different time and place. Surely, the Lord does not intend for the church to experience the same results today!" But the evidence from around the world is clear: the church planting paradigm of Acts produces rapid, exponential growth of the kingdom whenever or wherever it is properly applied. "From every corner of the globe the reports are coming in. Only a few at first, but now more and more frequently, reinforcing one another with their startling accounts of hundreds, thousands, and even tens of thousands coming to faith in Christ, forming into churches and spreading their new found faith" (David Garrison, Church Planting Movements, 1999). What David Garrison was describing could just as easily have been an introduction to the Book of Acts; for that was exactly what Luke was describing as he recorded the rapid expansion of the church that started in Jerusalem on that first Pentecost after Jesus' Resurrection and Ascension.
This Study Guide is intended for individuals or groups who want to study Acts from a fresh perspective and at the same time learn how they can be personally and actively involved in this worldwide movement of church planting. Moving chapter by chapter through the Book of Acts, the Study Guide incorporates the principles of church planting movements today and clearly demonstrates (1) these principles are straight out of the Book of Acts, and (2) Acts was in fact, given to the church by the Holy Spirit to show us "How to..." fulfill the Great Commission (Matt. 28:19-20) that is and has been our mandate from the beginning.