In the middle of the 1st century some 30 years after Christ death burial and resurrection, the
Gospel had spread to most of the Roman provinces and churches were established. This was no simple task, but quite miraculous when you consider the distances traveled, the modes of transportation, and the tiny band of followers that started this movement.
Despite the risks and the threats of death, the church focused on this global mission of telling others about the goodness of God and his saving work. When I reflect on this ancient church, I cannot
help but to be inspired, and I want to explore what their priorities. After all, I think they are the model
we must follow.
Two priorities of the church stand out to me: First, the early church was an equipping agency. The pastors, apostles, prophets and teachers dedicated their office to giving the church the tools necessary for spreading the gospel and building healthy followers (Ephesians 4). It was and still is a role that the church must play. Believers are to learn about God through the faithful teaching of the scriptures. When a church focuses on this concept, it leads to the second priority.
The church must have a global perspective and become a sending agency. In Acts, we see the early church commissioning Paul and Barnabus for missionary work. This was after equipping them with
the Gospel. Notice the church did not just equip without a purpose. The equipping of the saints leads to global mission. It is through this action that the church not only grew rapidly, but the growth was
sustained for centuries in the midst of persecution.
With this knowledge, we should make sure our churches focus on these ideas. It is and always has been the heartbeat of the church. The church will thrive and continue to grow when these two
things are kept in mind.