In our last series, we talked about loving our neighbours, and stepped through six shifts. From stranger to neighbour to acquaintance to partner to friend to becoming “like family”.
It’s possible to become like family with a focused group of people, where you practice loving your neighbours within that small group, and see that spill over to others outside.
This series looks specifically at this stage of being “like family” with other followers of Jesus. It’s called the church, believe it or not. Important that explore what church means as we prepare to launch a new church in Ajax in 2014.
You probably have all sorts of preconceived notions of what that word means. Attached you’ll find a video of some people on the street who were asked about what they think of when they hear “church”.
You can find the video here:
Question: When you hear the word “church” what do you immediately see, or think? Make a list, there may be several. What experiences have informed you?
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So what does it mean to do the will of our father in heaven, as a family of followers of Jesus? How do our values impact our routines and traditions as we develop into a church family?
One example that will guide us for the rest of this series comes from this description in the book of Acts, which tells the story of the first followers of Jesus organizing their extended family after Jesus died, rose and left the earth.
42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43 And awe[e] came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. 44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.
Five main elements devoted to:
Growth in Discipleship – They shared some teaching and belief in common with each other, and those who knew Jesus, the apostles.
Groups in Community –They were together regularly.
Grace in Lifestyle – They gained favour with all the people through their changed hearts
Generosity of Resources – They were selling and sharing their possessions to ensure no one was in need.
God in Worship – They regularly attended temple worship, and were breaking bread in homes in keeping with Jesus’ instructions from the night before he died
We’ll explore each of these things in depth these next few weeks, because these are the same things our church community will be devoted to. We will try to keep it well rounded, and not just focus on one thing or another.
Challenge: Rank these from easiest to hardest for you.
This series looks at becoming “like family” with others learning to follow Jesus. We're exploring how the church is not a building, institution or event, but a community of people. It's important that explore what church means as we prepare to launch a new church in Ajax in 2014.