Did you know the Bible gives us the description of a model church. In fact the Apostle Paul calls the church a model. That church was one he planted in Thessalonica. Chapter 1 verse 7 Paul writes the following: “And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia.”
Now what made Thessalonica a model church? I think there are a couple of things we can look at in this first chapter that would lead us to that conclusion.
- In verse six we see that they were focused on following Christ no matter how difficult it would be. The story of how this church was planted is found in Acts 17. A number of Jews and Greeks believed in Christ and that made the leading Jews jealous. A mob incited a riot that drove Paul out of the city. Yet these new believers in Christ prevailed and moved forward.
- Not only did these believers move forward, but their testimony sounded forth through the entire region. That term, “sounded forth” is a word picture of how thunder rolls across the sky during a thunder-storm. What a great way of picturing the outreach and reputation a church has that is focused on sharing Christ with others. It’s like the rolling thunder that starts in the distance and grows and moves over your head and on to the other end of the sky! The church’s reputation and outreach was like that.
- They left their former pursuits and idols to eagerly follow Christ. They were marked not only by what they received, but what they gave up.