Hey! Today I’m pumped to be part of the blog tour for Vince Antonucci and his new book, “Guerrilla Lovers: Changing the World with Revolutionary Compassion.” (Vince is also giving away a bunch of free resources for pastors, guerrilla assignments, and more at www.guerrillalover.com). So Vince, in your book you describe how the early church grew, despite having almost nothing going for it, and you talk about what we can learn from them. Could you tell us about that?
Answer: Sure. From 100 to 311 A.D., Christianity was illegal and persecuted but the number of Christians grew from 25,000 to twenty million. Why did it grow so rapidly? Historians suggest two decisive influences. Both of these were … plagues. Typically, widespread death-bringing epidemics don’t add to anyone’s “attendance” numbers, but historians tell us that Christianity grew rapidly in large part because of these two horrific plagues. When the plagues came, everyone fled the cities to avoid the lethal contagion – everyone, that is, except Christians.
These first Christians understood they had not joined a religion, but a revolution. They knew they could not add others to the revolution by power, so they did it through the way they lived their lives. They became guerrilla lovers. They realized they could catch something and die. But they hoped those to whom they ministered would also catch something – the love of Christ – and live, eternally. They chose to be people offering contagious life, in a place filled with contagious death, and because of that decision the revolution spread. They had nothing to rely on except love, but fortunately love worked.
Experts tell us that there are about 8 million less people going to church today in America than twenty years ago. Why are we going backwards? I think it’s because too often we’re relying on everything except love. We need to ignite a guerrilla lover revolution.
So true. Thanks Vince. And if you want to get your own copy of Guerrilla Lovers, you can do so here.