I love the Church. And I love the description of the Early Church as recorded in Acts 2:42-47. It gives us an inspiring vision of what the church CAN BE and SHOULD BE DOING when it submits itself to the authority of Jesus, who is the Head of the Church, and the leading of the Holy Spirit, who is the Helper of the Church, resourcing it with power to fulfill it’s mission. When the church is healthy and in biblical alignment, it is the most powerful, life-giving force anywhere! God’s divine plan is a healthy church that is uniquely designed for the broken and the hurting, for those who are believers and those who are far from God. In other words, a place for everyone.
My goal as a pastor is to model the church that I lead after this example, for I believe that an Acts 2 Church is A PLACE WHERE…
EVERYONE IS KNOWN. “All the believers were together and had everything in common. 46Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts” (Acts 2:44, 46, NIV).
If you really want to get to know someone, just go out to eat with them. There’s just something about food that makes even the most private person become an open book. I mean, they will just start sharing things that you never knew about them, or they will “let their hair down” and you’ll begin to see who they really are, what’s underneath that mask they wear (by the way, keep in mind that we all have facades to some degree, but that’s for another blog ;-).
One of the greatest desires of people is it know and be known, to care and be cared for, to love and be loved, to celebrate and be celebrated. That’s the kind of community that the Acts 2 Church enjoyed, and I am convinced that the best way for us to replicate this experience today is through healthy Small Groups. We must work harder and be more intentional in getting people from sitting in rows (on a Sunday morning) to sitting in circles (anytime, any place in a Small Group setting).
An Acts 2 Church is also A PLACE WHERE…
EVERYONE IS SUPPORTIVE. “They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need“ (Acts 2:45, NIV). The Acts 2 church was a deeply spiritual and deeply communal church. They combined resources and financially supported both MINISTRY (inward focus) and MISSION (outward focus), and did whatever they could to meet the needs around them.
EVERYONE IS SERVING. “God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen” (1 Peter 4:10-11, NLT).
I love how Rick Warren put it, “We are saved to serve, not sit, sour, and sulk!” So true. Let’s encourage one another to find our place of service and then be diligent and faithful in that area!
Finally, an Acts 2 Church is A PLACE WHERE…
EVERYONE IS CHANGING. “And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved“ (Acts 2:47, NIV). The ultimate change in a person’s life is when they surrender their lives to the Lordship of Jesus, and that was the end-game for the Acts 2 Church–people being saved/changed by the power of the Gospel! That must be the church’s end-game as well.
May every believer reading this post see the vision for establishing a Spirit-empowered Acts 2 Church where the primary objective is to CONNECT OUR CULTURE TO CHRIST through grace-saturated, compassion ministries. Perhaps then EVERYONE we touch with the Message of Jesus will feel more welcomed and the local church will truly be known as… A PLACE FOR EVERYONE!