We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. For we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake. You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit (1 Th. 1:3-6).
In Acts 17, Paul and his team went to Thessalonica with the hopes of advancing the gospel. He spent three sabbaths in the synagogue and much more time in the city, hoping to convince everyone of the necessity of knowing Jesus. God used his efforts, and Thessalonica’s church began.
Later, in his letter to the church Paul reflects on what it took to plant what would become one of the most vibrant, healthy churches mentioned in the New Testament — a church that would last for centuries. These verses remind us of four essential qualities as we move forward in our efforts to start and strengthen churches together worldwide. Paul and his team were:
Entrusted with the gospel: The Word of God is the foundation for all that we think, speak and do.
Empowered by the Holy Spirit: The Spirit of God is our guide. It is also the source of our strength, wisdom and courage.
Engaged with the community: Paul and his team were not trying to escape from society; they wanted to be used by God to transform their entire city.
Enduring in hardship: The opportunity to see people meet, know and follow Jesus was worth any price they had to pay.
My prayer is that as you read this edition of Point, God will fan into flame your heart for your community and, that through the wisdom of the Word and the power of the Holy Spirit, you will strive to see your region transformed by the power of the gospel.
Scott Ridout, Converge President
Scott Ridout is the president of Converge. A graduate of Virginia Tech and Columbia International University, he and his wife Lisa led Sun Valley Community Church, Gilbert, Arizona, from 1998 to 2014. Sun Valley has grown from 375 to roughly 5000 attendees on three campuses under his leadership. Previously, Scott served six years as a Converge overseer, including two years as chairman. He is also a church leadership mentor and will continue his coaching during his presidency.