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The community of faith known as the Moravian Church began in the early eighteenth century with descendants of scattered persecuted believers who gathered in Herrnhut, Germany. They were refugees from religious intolerance and forced conformity.

On August 5, 1727 a handful of Moravians spent the entire night in a prayer meeting. This nightlong prayer meeting was the turning point for the life of the Moravian community as they purposed to declare God's glory to the ends of the earth. By 1731, the group had resolved, "through a covenant with the Lord, to labor in the work of boldness, and to preach the Gospel to all the nations." The actual realization of this covenant occurred just one year later when some of their members were sent to the West Indies. Additional members of the church were sent to Greenland in 1733 and Georgia in North America in 1734.

At the time of the death of their founder, Count Ludwig von Zinzendorf (1700-1760), no less than 226 Moravians had gone to places ranging from the Arctic to the tropics, from the Far East to the American mid-west. Whenever those they sent died, there were always those who offered to take their places. In the first 20 years of the Moravians’ existence, they sent more of their members overseas, than the whole Protestant church had sent out in the preceding 200 years.

The Moravians' fervor for God's glory among the nations could still be seen as late as 1900. For every 58 communicants in their home churches there was one member who served on a foreign field. For every Moravian in the home churches, there were more than two members in the congregations where the Moravians labored.

What was the incentive for work that produced such results? While acknowledging the supreme authority of the Great Commission, the Moravians emphasized as their chief incentive the truth from Isaiah 53:10-12: the Lord God and His suffering. From these verses, they formed their battle cry: "To win for the Lamb that was slain, the reward of His suffering." Their focus was on a vision of God suffering for the sake of His glory. The way in which they joined Him in His suffering was to fix His passion for His glory firmly in their lives. Count Zinzendorf, their founder and leader, exclaimed, "I have but one passion - ‘tis He, and He only."

The Moravians as a people were possessed by a vision of God and His glory. These refugees and exiles impacted the world by living and dying for God's renown!

Will we leave a legacy of our names and ministries or one of God's glory and renown? Will the people of God as a whole and not just a select few labor in boldness to declare His glory to the nations? May we be struck with a vision of the slain and risen Lamb and be moved with passion for His renown among all the peoples of the earth!

 
Acts 1:8
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