We are immersing ourselves in the story of the early church on campuses around Boston this year and the conversations about Acts have been fantastic as our students explore community, the Holy Spirit, and facing opposition.
One thing we see in the early stages of Acts is rapid growth. In fact, we are given some hard numbers: the movement grows from 120, to 3000, to 5000. After hitting 5000 we are given more general statements like “others continued to join them,” or “their numbers were added to.”
This growth has been pointed out in several conversations I’ve been a part of and each time students have been interested in retention. How many of those 3000 stuck around for the next day and the next day and the next day?
Fascinating. I think it’s a great question, and I think it belies the transient nature of our larger culture. Sure, lots of people will check something out once, but how many will actually stick around.
We have a faithfulness deficit.
I am sure there is a lot more to be said about this. But this question has surprised me and intrigued me. There’s some cynicism behind it (no way that many people actually stick around), but there’s also some wonder involved (that many people stick around? hmmmm….something going on there).
Faithfulness is a huge challenge and sacrifice. It is a better story. It is an all too rare story in our culture today.