Sunday, March 17, 2024

A Church Worthy of Our Imitation

By Brian Mitchell

    We live in a world that is in desperate need of good role models. People need good role models to look up to because they help us to see what is good and they help us to strive to attain that which is good. Good role models are important because: they show us what can be done and how it can be done, they inspire us to follow their example and they encourage us to be steadfast in achieving our goals. Given these truths it is easy to see why I say that we have such a great need for good role models. Because bad role models also show us what can be done and how it can be done and they also often, to our own peril, inspire us to follow their example.
    So the question for us to ask ourselves, both individually and congregationally, is who are we looking up to. Who is it that we are allowing to let us see what can be done, what should be done, and how it can be done. Thankfully as Christians we have many good role models to look up to, both individually and congregationally. Individually, we have people like Abraham, David, Job, Daniel, Paul and a long list in Hebrews 11 (God’s Hall of Faith).
    Congregationally, we have the church at Smyrna (I know your works, tribulation and poverty, but you are rich). We have the church at Philadelphia (I know your works for you have kept my word and not denied my name, thus I will also keep you). And we have the church at Thessalonica (and you became followers of us and the Lord, so that you became examples to all in Macedonia and Achaia).
    What made the church at Thessalonica a church that was worthy of the emulation of others? They were a church that other congregations could look up to and follow; a role model for congregations.
    What characteristics did they possess that allowed them to be a congregation worthy of imitating. Of course we will obviously engage, in this study, to determine what things we as a congregation can and should be doing. So that in the end it could be said of us, that we are serving as an example of what God wants a congregation to be and what God wants a congregation to be doing.
    Paul’s commendation of the church at Thessalonica is found in 1 Thess.1:6-8. Paul mentions a number of things that made them an exemplary church. Could he say the same things of us? For what did Paul commend the church? Do we have a similar evangelistic focus? Are known for sounding forth the Word of God? Are we looking for and taking advantage of opportunities to evangelize our friends, neighbors, relatives, and co-workers. Are we looking for and taking advantage of opportunities to spread the gospel beyond our home area.
    The need for churches to sound forth the word of God is as great now as it has ever been. Will we answer the call of the Lord—Rom.10:14-17.

- Brian Mitchell serves as a minister with the Jackson Church of Christ in Jackson, MO. He may be contacted through the congregation's website at

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