Lately, I’ve been pondering this little phrase, “Are You All In?” This simply means, “am I fully committed?” When you’re all in, you are willing to sacrifice time, energy, money – all that you have to the cause. Of course, we have to believe in the cause. Believing comes from the heart, the soul, and compels us to step forward. It may at times mean suffering persecution and “being all in” means a whole bunch of inconvenience.
In 40 years the book of Acts tells us that the early Christian church spread to the very edges of the Roman empire. It is remarkable. In fact, Rodney Stark, a Christian sociologist, explores this expansion of the first 300 years of the Christian church in his book, The Rise of Christianity. This would be a great book for summer reading if you love history. He notes that that the growth of the early church is, basically, miraculous.
I love reading the book of Acts because we have real life stories of how the church actually grew. I am consistently struck that the people “are all in.” From Pentecost in Acts 2 you find person after person committing themselves to the Gospel of Jesus. Their commitment means something. It isn’t done lightly. These early believers created communities starting as small groups and developed into congregations. Neighbors saw a life change which created conversations which generated new believers.
The early church was “all in.” They wanted everyone to know Jesus as their savior doing so through a merciful heart and a gracious expression of faith. Most important, they had a vision on how to build the Kingdom so others would know Jesus.
Along with The Rise of Christianity, another good book for summer reading is Simple Church by Thom S. Rainer and Eric Geiger. The authors explore the contemporary church and our distraction from the vision of Kingdom building. It is well worth reading and reviewing who we are at Cross of Christ.
So, “are we all in?” This is the pondering for the book of Acts for our congregation as we follow Jesus.