THE BIG LITTLE CHURCH
God does big things in little churches. Consider the works of God in the city of Philippi. The apostle Paul brought his small team to the region in response to a night vision of a Macedonian man calling him to come there. Paul was a true minority there. He and his team were the only Christ followers in this Roman crossroads city. There were not even enough Jews to form a synagogue here.
And in this lonely city, God did miraculous things to reveal Jesus’ message. Paul searching for Jewish believers encountered Lydia down by the river. She was a fabric merchant and a convert to Judaism. As Paul told her about Jesus, she became a follower.
A fortune-telling slave girl was set free from her spiritual bondage, leading to the arrest and imprisonment of Paul and Silas.
God caused an earthquake in the jail that lead to the jailer and his family responding to the gospel and being baptized.
That was quite a small church forming. There was a diversity of people and experiences being brought together in the followers of Jesus. They were lead by Pastor Paul who had been in trouble with the law and faced many beat downs in his journey.
Philippi was not unique in the story of the early church’s expansion. It was and still is common for God to do miraculous things in diverse settings with minority characters. There is a unifying quality to the gospel that defies the demographics of division.
Paul was there at the start of faith for this emerging church. Later, he served as a coach through letters and visits. As he would later hear about the very human problems in the Philippian church, he writes to encourage them to think like Jesus who laid aside his position and came as a servant.
What Paul says in effect is that "the attitude of mind I have been urging on you is exactly that of God himself, as it has been spelled out in the incarnation.
The attitude we see in Jesus is one of submission. Following Jesus means learning to think the way he does. How did Jesus handle misunderstanding and persecution? What were his guiding thoughts?