March 17th, we remember Saint Patrick. He started his life as a spoiled English brat. He indulged the desires of a young man’s life. That was until he was taken captive by pirates and made a slave in Ireland. Nights that he had spent carousing before he now spent watching sheep in the cold. During this time of physical struggle, he was challenged in his soul to give his life to Christ and he did. Getting the opportunity to escape he returned home to England. He became a priest and yearned in his heart to return to the place of his bondage, Ireland, and bring Christ to those who had never heard the name.
With the help of other believers, he returned to Ireland with fellow missionaries and brought a spiritual revolution to that pagan land. He did missions different than they had been done. Roman Christians before had convinced leaders in countries that it was politically advantageous to become “Christians” and join others under the control of the Church in Rome.
Patrick and his group moved into communities and reached the local people. They used local customs, arts, and just plain discussion to win the people to Christ. Once the populous came to belief the leaders then were reached out to by not only Patrick but their own people. They saw the truth of their belief and respond to the call of Christ on their own lives. These leaders then supported Patrick in his work in Ireland, Scotland and even to the European Continent with this new brand of Christianity.
This Celtic Christianity reached out beyond the walls of Churches. It used traditional customs and stories to help share the messages of the Bible. It was what we call to day Missional approach to reach people. It gave missions to the people.
Our churches today must take a lesson from St. Patrick. We must see that the church isn’t a building, the church is people reaching people. We must use culture, stories, and basic plane talk to people about needs and questions of faith. The church can’t hide behind the walls trying to develop a bigger “club” than the church down the road. We need to get dusty and reach out to the world. That is the kind of Church we are developing at North Irving Baptist Church. We hope if you have the same ideas about reaching the community and our world you will join us in this Mission.