I have a horrible habit of starting books, reading the first few chapters, and then starting another without finishing the one I started. I am trying to turn over a new leaf, which led me to pick back up a book I started entitled The Rise of Christianity by Rodney Stark. You can purchase it here. It is an interesting look at how the Gospel and Christian community spread so quickly over the first few hundred years.
As I have been reading, I have been reminded of a very simple principle. That is, religious movements will continue to grow when thier members continue to form relationships with people outside of their movement. Stark says, “For the fact is that typically people do not seek a faith; they encounter one through their ties to other people who already accept this faith…Religious movements can grow because their members continue to form new relationships with outsiders.” Stark is simply stating that the existing networks found in our families, friends, co-workers, neighbors, etc. are fertile ground for the Gospel.
That may seem obvious, but we must challenge ourselves to truly see these networks as our mission field, as the opportunities that God is giving us every day to model and proclaim the message of Christ crucified, risen, and coming again. Just a thought!
Now for a question on Baptism…and I need your help. “In your estimation, what do you think are the reasons that keep Christ followers from following through on baptism?” Just curious to hear your thoughts!