From what we read about the church of the Thessalonians around AD 51-57, it is easy to see why they are referred to as a model church. Here is an outline:

I.  The church is born in adversity (Acts 17:1-10)

II. The church is thriving (I Thessalonians)

III. The church is shaken by false teaching (II Thessalonians)

IV. The church is generous (II Corinthians 8-9)

Obviously this church was not perfect, but they did have many great qualities that we can learn from and apply.  The following sums up their testimony, “The Lord’s message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia—your faith in God has become known everywhere. Therefore we do not need to say anything about it, for they themselves report what kind of reception you gave us. They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath” (I Thessalonians 1:8-10).

One item that stands out is the radical change believing in Jesus made in their lives.  Though they were in difficult circumstances, they could not nor did they desire to suppress their joy.  They just had to tell someone about the love of Jesus.  Now that is the sort of joy that should mark the followers of Christ!