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This little book considers the impact of plagues and persecutions on the early church. By looking specifically at the first century persecutions, the first century “global” famine, and two later plagues – Antonine and Cyprian – we will draw the conclusion that the church was prepared to stay on mission during these difficulties and emerged on the other side without changing her mission trajectory from when she entered the crises. The challenge for the global church today is to wrestle with the question of what trajectory have we been on and where might we emerge on the other side of COVID-19? That trajectory does not look positive. With the global decline of Christianity largely due to population growth as well as several other salient factors, Christianity will be outpaced by Islam in the 2050s. Nevertheless, if we make mission critical adjustments now, empowered by the Holy Spirit, and equip the saints for works of ministry then we can impact the future growth of the church.

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

  1. Introduction
  2. The New Testament Church 
    and Times of Challenge
  3. The Plague Challenges for 
    the Church in the Second 
    and Fourth Centuries
  4. The Church’s Reality Today
  5. Staying on Mission
  6. Church, This is Our Moment
  7. Conclusion

Reference List

Now is a time to empower people to use their gifts (2 Tim 1:3-6), inspire them to join in hardship (2 Tim 1:8-14), entrust them to teach faithful people to carry on the mission (2 Tim 2:1-7), and remind them to preach the word in season and out of season (2 Tim 3:16-4:2).

About the Authors

Matt Till
Matt is the lead pastor at Restoration Church in Lake Zurich, Illinois and adjunct professor at Trinity International University. He is a frequent blogger at ephesiology.com and the co-host of the Ephesiology Podcast.
Michael T. Cooper
Michael is a missions executive focused on equipping church leaders around the world as well as the author of the recently released Ephesiology: The Study of the Ephesian Movement (William Carey Publishing).