After the resurrection of Jesus, Christianity spread around Jerusalem like wildfire. It spread so broadly that it strained the religious establishment. They could not stomach a resurrected Leader who reached out to undesirables everywhere. Finally there was a breaking point. A vocal Christian leader was stoned to death and the floodgates of persecution flew open. Christians fled the city, scattering across the region, seeking safety. Only the apostles stayed put in Jerusalem.
They still had the message about new life in Jesus. But...
They had no place to gather. They couldn't meet at the Temple.
They had no weekly routine or meeting times. For safety's sake they hid and fled.
They had no day-to-day leadership. The apostles stayed in Jerusalem.
They had new kinds of people to evangelize. The common people in the countryside were not like the urban elites.
They had new problems to solve. Their old way of thinking could not meet the new realities.
God used those changes to bring the gospel to new people in new places in new ways. The persecution was tragic, but God used it to send the good news around the world. A new generation of Christians rethought systems of gathering, encouraging, reaching out, sharing love. The world had changed, but their response changed the world.
Today is our opportunity for new meeting places, new routines, new leadership, new places to share good news, new problems to solve.
We can reach this changing world with the hope of Jesus. But we can't stay stuck in our old ways of doing church. Change is upon the whole world. How will we respond?