Theology on the Run
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I often think back to the New Testament church with thoughts of care, wonder, and amazement. What must it have been like in those first few decades with Jesus gone? How long was it before they even called themselves “the church” and what did daily life look like? I try and answer these questions as I read through the New Testament, but the reality is that we only know what we can read in the text. So, as I was pondering questions like these and wondering what else I would have liked to have seen in the text, I heard someone make a statement about the theology of the New Testament. He said, “The theology of the New Testament can be called a ‘Theology on the Run’. They were figuring things out as they went, helping people as they learned what they were doing.”
And honestly, has that concept changed? For anyone who has tried to lead or participate in ministry, you know that it’s messy and that you are trying to figure things out along the way. You go into things with plans, but those often get tossed out the window as you are presented with a new problem and a new solution to find. Half of ministry is trying to figure out what to do while you are already doing the other half of ministry – loving on people.
But, somewhere along the way, the church started to think that it had “arrived”. We started caring less about people who don’t know Jesus and caring more about our parking spot at church. We started giving less attention to the missions work, because we recently shared a missionary’s blog post. At some point, our focus became inward, we stopped running, and started sitting in comfortable chairs. Beloved, we may have lost sight of the true vision of the church: to be “witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8) With that vision comes the great responsibility to dive right into the middle of sharing the Gospel message of the risen Savior, Jesus.
That may be scary and that may be uncomfortable, but if we have that mindset, then we probably forgot the first half of the verse I just mentioned. Jesus said, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you.” We have been EMPOWERED to spread the church to the ends of the earth – yes even in your neighborhood. I’m not at all disputing whether you have been empowered, but I am saying that you haven’t yet turned on the light switch. PG&E has been turned on, but we are content with using candles in the dark.
Instead of hunkering down in fear, let us boldly reach beyond our comfort zone and reconnect with the vision of the church. You may have to figure things out on the run. You may also receive scorn and persecution, but I guarantee that you will be empowered by the strongest power that man has ever known. This week, I encourage you to think about someone to whom you can share the message of Jesus. And then, after you have thought and prayed about it, I encourage you to actually share the message of Jesus with them. Take a risk to see how God will help you to figure things out on the run.