18 Jun We Are Circuit Riders
Read Acts 18:18-23
Thought for the Day: As a Christian, I can positively influence others!
In the early days of Methodism in America, the number of churches far exceeded the number of trained clergy. Therefore, pastors were known as “circuit riders”. Rather than being responsible for only one parish, each preacher was given a cluster of churches and a horse. The pastor would travel to each town, preach and disciple the people there, before heading off to the next location. In the meantime, the church’s laity (non-clergy) would lead the church and carry on Jesus’ work. It was crucial for pastors to strengthen and encourage the members of each parish as churches were led by the people.
During the founding of the Early Church, the Apostle Paul’s leadership style was much like the circuit riders which would come nearly two thousand years later. While there were many churches and thousands of believers, there was only one Paul. Therefore, his job was to equip the people to lead each church. His trips served to found and strengthen local congregations, rather than to manage their day-to-day responsibilities. For example, “When he had landed at Caesarea, he went up and greeted the church, and then went down to Antioch. After spending some time there, he departed and went from one place to the next through the region of Galatia and Phrygia, strengthening all the disciples.”
Today, each of us is called to strengthen and encourage those around us. We are not placed in our circumstances at random. Rather, God has placed each of us where we are right now in order to spread His Gospel to our hurting world. This starts with our families and friends but extends to our workplaces, communities, and region. It may feel like an incredible burden, but don’t be afraid! Just as Paul was not expected to micromanage the believers at Caesarea or Antioch, we are not responsible for the actions or decisions of others. Instead, let’s see ourselves as God’s us 21st Century circuit riders by encouraging others in their faith, praying continually, and leaving the rest to God!
Pastors Stan and David