“For they themselves declare concerning us what manner of entry we had to you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God…”
For they themselves declare concerning us
Third parties from other places told Paul of the effects of the gospel team in Thessalonica. The story spread throughout the Roman Empire by the grapevine.
what manner of entry we had to you,
Paul’s gospel team moved into Thessalonica with a marvelous Spirit-empowered entrance. They did not come with a mediocre mechanical gospel preaching that lacked any semblance of vital faith. No, they came with a burning conviction about Jesus Christ that the Thessalonians, in turn, caught. It matters how a church begins, for that establishes a precedent for its future ministry. “What manner” is important, as well as what content.
“And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God” (1 Corinthians 2:1-5).
Thessalonians came to God supernaturally, not naturally. Their conversion did not come from some dynamically discoursed address. It came from people empowered by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit supernaturally brings the gospel message home to hearts.
“And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: “of sin, because they do not believe in Me; “of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; “of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now” (John 16:8-12).
Integrity determines how we live out our core values.
What we are speaks so loudly that people hear our lives more than our words. Nothing is more fashionable than announcing our core values and mission statement and then setting goals to reach our end. Ministry has many similarities to business, but there are massive differences as well. We measure everything by the bottom line in business for business revolves around the market. In ministry, however, everything revolves around a person and that person’s integrity.
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23-24).
Successful Christian leaders pivot their goals around integrity. Our integrity determines how we live out our core values. We shape our character, not solely by how much information we know, but by applying that information to our experience. Is God transforming our lives by His Word? Are we becoming more like our Lord every day? Momentum in ministry comes from both the character of the message and the character of the messenger.