The Great Commission
One of the great leaders of New Testament is the Apostle Paul and he gives us this exhortation in 1 Corinthians 11:1, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:1)
A saint has been defined as “a man in whom Christ lives.” The real leader of the church preaches and lives in Christ. Men are captivated by Christians who live out what they believe. Mankind will not necessarily agree with what a man preaches, but they will take note of how he lives.
Around this time of the year, one should consider the life of St. Patrick, especially since there is a day dedicated in his honor.
Matthew 28:18-20 says, “Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in of the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’” This is the heart that is reflected in the life and speech of St. Patrick who said, “Am I willing and able to forgive those who have caused pain in my life? Am I willing to follow the call of God and even give my life to those who enslaved me?”
St. Patrick had a unique missionary strategy:
“In faith, the forty-something year-old Patrick sold all of his possessions, including the land he had inherited from his father, to fund his missionary journey to Ireland. He worked as an itinerant preacher and paid large sums of money to various tribal chiefs to ensure he could travel safely through their lands and preach the gospel. His strategy was completely unique, and he functioned like a missionary trying to relate to the Irish people and communicate the gospel in their culture by using such things as three-leaf clovers to explain the gospel. Upon entering a pagan clan, Patrick would seek to first convert the tribal leaders and other people of influence. He would then pray for the sick, cast demons out of the possessed, preach the Bible, and use both musical and visual arts to compel people to put their faith in Jesus. If enough converts were present he would build a simple church that did not resemble ornate Roman architecture, baptize the converts, and hand over the church to a convert he had trained to be the pastor so that he could move on to repeat the process with another clan. Patrick gave his life to the people who had enslaved him until he died at 77 years of age. He had seen untold thousands of people converted to Christ. Of the 150 tribes, 30-40 of them became substantially Christian. He had trained 1,000 pastors, planted 700 churches, and was the first noted person in history to take a strong public stand against slavery.” (Mark Driscroll, Church History)