Christian Mission Passing it on
With love as His nature and motive, God is Mission orientated.
So as our characters are increasingly shaped by the Holy Spirit we too will become more motivated towards Mission.
From the very beginning of the Gospel story we find God sending His Son Jesus into the world. We then encounter Jesus sending His disciples out into the world and the early Church becomes Mission-shaped to take the Good News to the ends of the earth.
Sadly, the Church has frequently become inward looking and maintenance-shaped. This week our readings take us through the idea of the Church going out into the world around to pass on what we know of Jesus and His plan of salvation.
vv 7-8. And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia. The Lord’s message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia—your faith in God has become known everywhere.
The newly founded church in Thessalonica had a reputation. It was known for the faith it held on to and for the way in which it set out to tell others about it. Don’t get me wrong, it was not a perfect Church – there is no such thing here on earth – but it was a good model of how a church might be. That had nothing to do with wealth or learning, nor was its reputation about size of the group and status of its members. It was a good model because it was shaped to spread Good News; the Lord’s message rang out from them far and wide. It was obvious to any observer that God was at work in their lives and that they were not ashamed to let that be known.
Whatever else we read in Paul’s letter to them, keep this in mind: they had a great reputation for spreading good news. They faced problems of many different kinds, and they had not yet grasped the full message of practical Christianity, but their lives radiated a faith which they wanted to share with others.
Some churches today have a reputation for great teaching – they have leaders well equipped to help people learn about their faith. It is actually more important and hugely more significant that a church should be motivated and able to pass the Good News on to others.