25 Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, 26 and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.
Two early leaders of the post-resurrection Christian movement, Barnabas and Saul (later called Paul) provide insight into how the early church was built. And it was not merely by telling people about Jesus and moving on; rather, they spent significant time with people and invested heavily in local communities. This illustrates an essential ingredient in the process of cultivating a thriving church, which is to spend time together and grow in God’s truth. And this was before the establishment of Christian traditions, teachings and resources, which nowadays we take for granted. There wasn’t a “small group” curriculum or rules about what Sunday meetings should look like. Instead Barnabas and Saul were part of a community of people who were spiritually thirsty and lived their lives together as they sought more insight into God’s truth through Jesus.
In the same way, our church communities will not thrive if they are merely formulaic and Sunday-centric. God calls us to share our lives with honesty, vulnerability, and compassion. And His Spirit will thrive in and through us when our churches are not just meeting places, but are communities marked by grace, forgiveness, and shared love.
Thoughts for the day
- What does this passage tell you about God or Jesus?
- What does this passage tell you about humanity?
- What do you feel God is telling you through this passage?
- How can you apply this message in an area of your life that needs transformation?
- Is there anyone you think should hear or will benefit from this message? Go and tell them.
Pray this prayer throughout the day, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).