What gave the 1st Century Church power to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ so effectively were the Holy Spirit & early believers’ loving spirit.
- The early didn’t have a master plan of evangelism or missions.
- They didn’t have a large building as their missions headquarter.
- Nor did they have a board that decided what the direction of their ministry should be.
- In fact, they didn’t even possess the New Testament that we rely so much on today because it hasn’t been written yet by the apostles & biblical writers.
What they did have was their love for their Lord Jesus Christ who has taught them God’s truth & exemplified how they are to touch & transform the world, and the Spirit who empowered them to be what they themselves could never be on their own.
Early believers simply shared the One who was most important in their lives. They weren’t bound by ethnicity, location, resources, status… They were simply obeying their Lord’s command to be loving witnesses.
I think often what we bring into our ministry & missions that is of human origin, weighs us down & limit our freedom in Christ. For example, church buildings.
According to David Platt in his book, Radical,
“Every year in the United States, we spend more than $10 billion on church buildings. In America alone, the amount of real estate owned by institutional churches is
worth over $230 billion.”
But for the early believers instead of erecting temples & telling people to come to them, they went out to the people. They weren’t bound by buildings. They just followed where the Holy Spirit led them. This is why the early church grew like wild fire despite heavy persecution & despite the fact that they didn’t have anything, which included much training.
What is crystal clear is that missions is the activity of God. Missions is at His heart, it is His calling for every believer, it is the Spirit of God who leads us to our mission fields, and
it is by His power & grace
that hearts far away from God who are lost & hurting
can come near
where they can hear the loving voice of our Lord that
affirms that they are finally where they need to be.
And this is what God does in our world all the time.
There are literally thousands & thousands of books written on how to do ministry & missions effectively & how to multiply your works & congregation. I have read quite a few of them, and they are helpful. They are helpful in seeing what awesome things our God is capable of doing, how gracious He is & how involved He is in all that we do.
But they are not helpful in reproducing what we are reading in our own context because our God is God who is infinitely creative, unpredictable & cannot be reduced to formulas or simple 5-7 steps. If this isn’t true, then there would be a mega-church with fancy coffee shops in every neighborhood.
Every generation has different challenges.
Every culture/ethnic group is special.
Every person is unique.
Although the root of mankind’s problem is sin, and although JESUS CHRIST is the ANSWER, our approach to share Christ in each culture, setting & person has to be prayed upon with willingness to obey & follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit, who knows best, and who will give us compassion to love as Jesus did.
The book of Acts time & time again will say, “the LORD added to their number daily those who were being saved (2:47).”
There is nothing in this world that can resist & overcome the Holy Spirit & the love of Christ that touch one’s soul.
I believe we try too hard to lead, figure things out & mimic what others are doing successfully when all we are called to do as servants of Christ is to follow His guidance & love our fellowman.