What the Church Should Be

One of the things that I’ve pondered a lot in the past 8 months is the status of the church in America. Last fall I had the opportunity to attend a church planting movement conference, and was really challenged in my understanding of church. After the conference I went back and read through the book of Acts, to see how the early Christians- the early church- functioned together. I made a list, and I’m sure I missed quite a few things, but here are some of the points that stuck out to me.

What the Church Looks like in Acts

  • They joined together constantly in prayer (1:14)
  • There were leadership positions; they prayerfully considered how to fill them (1:15-26)
  • They were all together in one place (2:1)
  • They were devoted to learning the apostle’s teaching, to fellowship, to prayer, and communion (2:42)
  • They were filled with awe at what God was doing (2:43)
  • They were unified (2:44)
  • They gave generously to each other and to others (2:45)
  • They met together in a place of worship and also in each others’ homes (2:46)
  • They praised God together, and many people came to Christ because of their witness (2:47)
  • They spoke through the power of the Holy Spirit (4:8)
  • They raised their voices together in prayer (4:24)
  • They were filled with the Holy Spirit, and spoke the Word of God boldly (4:31)
  • They were of one heart and mind- unity- and they shared everything they had (4:32)
  • They claimed God’s power, and testified to the resurrection of Jesus (4:33)
  • They were highly regarded by the people (5:13)
  • They were persecuted (5:17 and following)
  • They went from house to house teaching and proclaiming Christ (5:42)
  • They gave different tasks to different people (6:1-4)
  • They lived in the fear of the Lord (9:31)
  • They were aware of what was happening with other churches, they were connected (11:22)
  • They provided help for the brothers (11:29)
  • They prayed on behalf of those who are persecuted (12:5)
  • They worshipped and fasted together (13:2)
  • They raised up leaders in the churches that they started (14:23)
  • They heard reports from the missionaries that they sent out (14:27)
  • They focused on God changing the inside of a person, rather than looking at the outside (15:5-11)
  • They were not perfect 🙂 (15:39)
  • They welcomed missionaries and received them warmly (18:22 and 21:17)

Well, I think we could learn some lessons from the early church. I know that we are currently practicing some of these things, but perhaps we have let ourselves get too caught up in things that don’t really matter. I have definitely gone back to Acts a lot this year, and I hope that you will check it out for yourselves!

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