Paul, Barnabas, Timothy, Silas, Peter, Mark, and many other people mentioned in the New Testament were itinerant at least for a while.
Itinerant, in this sense, means that they moved around from place to place proclaiming the gospel and strengthening churches. Itinerant also means that they did not intend to stay in one place permanently. Sometimes they stayed in one place a few days; sometimes a few weeks; sometimes a few months; sometimes even a few years. But, the intention was always to keep moving, as long as they considered themselves itinerant.
I’m using the term “itinerant” instead of other possible descriptions. For example, I could call these people “apostolic,” but that term has been misused and hijacked lately, I think. (But I do believe that being itinerant is related to the spiritual gift of apostleship.) I could also used the terms “emissary” or “representative” or “ambassador” but those terms have a governmental or political connotation today.
So, while I’m thinking about “itinerants” – and I plan to write about this more in the coming days – I have a couple of questions for you, my readers, to help me think through this topic.
1) Is there a better term than “itinerant” to describe a person who travels from place to place without the intention of remaining in that place in order to proclaim the gospel and strengthen the church?
2) How does the scriptural view of the “itinerant” contrast or compare with different types of servants (“minister”) today?
3) Do you think there is a place and/or need in the church today for itinerant servants? Why or why not?