I had an idea today to start a regular weekly post which will spend a few hundred words looking back at some of the story of the church, and seeing what we can learn from it. I've been reading and teaching on Church History a lot recently, and although nowhere near being called a 'historian', I am becoming a bit of a fan and am learning lots that I'd love to share with anyone who may be interested.
I've even managed to come up with the simple name for these posts: #tbt (“Throwback Thursdays” for the non-social media types). Am I creative or what…!
Anyway, to kick this off, I was thinking about the early church. Right at the beginning of the church's story around 33AD. When he resurrected and ascended to heaven, Jesus left the disciples with no real structure or strategy for them, just a mission. The great commission. He simply said 'Go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit'. So what did they do? How did they do it? Well, they definitely didn't make it complicated. They simply decided to tell people about Jesus.
Check out the map below that shows the apostles probable and possible itineraries they went on, and the spread of the Gospel they pioneered…
Now, let's not get confused by trying to figure out all the tiny details from that map. What I love is the simple fact that 12 guys took the simple message of Jesus pretty far. Within a short space of time they simply declared the news to as many people as they could, in was many places as they could, as often as they could. Obviously they weren't perfect, but there's still a great lesson for us to learn!
I look at that map and remember how complicated I can sometimes make things in my faith. We can all be like that sometimes eh? Let's remember that simply declaring Jesus to people is what we've been called to do. Let's try not to over-complicate things, and let's try not to get in the way of God moving in people's lives.
What things could you do this week to keep things simple in your journey with God? Who in your life needs to hear the simple truth of Jesus?