A new congregation sprang into existence--seemingly from nowhere! It was this country's first congregation, and it sprang to life almost spontaneously. Missionaries did not start it. It came into existence when some Christians arrived in the area looking for a place to live. Living in visible joy and faith, they introduced people to the crucified, resurrected Jesus.

This congregation was truly unique! Previously, Christ was not shared with people like these. This kind of people simply were not taught in other countries.

Before this congregation, all congregations began with a core group of converts who knew scripture and understood prophecies. Previously, each congregation had this core group the moment it began. From its beginning, it had a basic, sound understanding of godliness and morality.

But this new congregation began without that core group. Its converts previously worshipped idols. Therefore, their pre-conversion concept of morality was strikingly different. A scripture-based concept of godliness was new to them.

The first (and oldest) congregation was concerned. Since this new congregation began without their knowledge or oversight, they were not sure what had happened. Because they had not sent the teachers, they also were concerned about what was happening.

This "oldest of all congregations" decided it was wise to send a personal representative to evaluate the situation. When he arrived, the representative was thrilled! He saw that the hand of the Lord was with these people. He clearly saw the grace of God at work. With joy, he encouraged these new Christians to resolve to remain true to the Lord. Read about this congregation in Acts 11:19-30 and 13:1-3. They became an important missions base in the Roman empire.

When the focus is on Jesus, things happen!

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 9 March 1997

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