Family Tree of Early Churches
I have done my best to show the Lord’s early churches in a family tree structure. The scriptures clearly teach that each church was an independent church body and not part of a collective “universal” church body made up of all the believers. A great example of this is the disciples that Paul came across in Ephesus. They believed and were called disciples but did not have scriptural baptism. Whoever baptized them did it in John’s name (John’s authority). That authority had long since been removed after John the Baptist’s death. Paul administers proper baptism and lay’s his hands on them and organizes them into a local independent church body (the church of Ephesus).
After the church was scattered abroad, the members of the Jerusalem church settled in their respective regions throughout Judaea, Galilee and Samaria and organized as local churches. We no longer see the word “church” used only (Acts 8:1) but “churches” (Acts 9:31). One of these churches was the church in Antioch. She was the first mission minded church in the scriptures. Barnabas and Saul (Paul) became members of that body and were sent out to the Gentiles in Pamphylia/Pisidia/Lycaonia (Acts 13:1-3). The second trip Paul and Silas went together and reached out a little further to region of Macedonia and Achaia. Paul’s 3rd time was back to Asia Minor. He was forbidden by the Holy Ghost to speak the word in Asia on his 2nd journey (Acts 16:6). This is when the seven churches of Asia are established (Acts 19:10, Rev.1:11). I believe the church at Colosee was established at a later date. Perhaps as a results of the church in Laodicea. Paul seemed to hear of their faith but he was unknown to many by his face in the flesh (Col.1:4, 2:1). Paul’s 4th journey was to Rome a few years after appealing to Caesar (Acts 25:11).
I’m sure there are churches that I left out. I plan on going back through the book of Acts again and the epistles to see if I can find some more churches to add as time allows.