ISRAEL—Archaeology has shed much light on exactly how the early church lived and did ministry. We've been able to recreate how New Testament believers worshiped, what they ate, what they wore, and how they went about their daily lives. Such information can help inform how we run our churches and bring some much-needed context to the way we read the New Testament.
But the most important discovery yet was made this past weekend at a dig in a remote location in Israel: the bumper stickers used by the early church. Archaeologists dug up boxes and boxes of bumper stickers with snazzy logos and "lit" church names. The stickers were designed to be stuck on the back of a camel or donkey in order to witness to other travelers when going about town or trekking across the desert or Roman roads.
"We all know you're not a real church unless you have a lit bumper sticker, and it seems the early church realized this too," said Dr. Tim Earle, a researcher on the dig site and expert in biblical archaeology. "You need a slick logo, a cool name, some slick T-shirts, and of course, bumper stickers to slap on your mode of transportation."
"So as you can see, they weren't really all that different from us."
The bumper stickers were discovered close to the site of a first-century megachurch, a site which held the ruins of a giant, 10,000-seat sanctuary, tennis courts, a baseball diamond, a fitness center, and several coffee shops.