Yesterday, we explored how a church community is meant to be a gathering, sometimes even just for fun and fellowship.

You might think church has always meant a religious gathering of Christians on Sunday morning.  But in the Bible’s Greek language, church had another meaning before that.  The Greek word for church is ekklesia which literally means “an assembly” or “gathering of people”.  But not just for its own good.  It’s called out to be and do something specific.  This week’s passage says gathering together is not just for encouragement to love, but for encouragement to good works.

We are meant to be a preview of the world as God wants it to be.  We are meant to make people say wow.  Unlike the church I described yesterday, people are supposed to look at our community (even at its business meetings) and say, “Wow!  That’s how we are supposed to relate with each other, and our world, and God.  I can see it now!”  They are meant to see the Kingdom of God in us.

Aristides was a philosopher in Athens in the second century and he observed the first Christians, the early church, and this is what he recorded about them in 125 AD.

“They walk in humility and kindness, and falsehood is not found among them.  They love one another.  He that has distributes liberally to him that does not have. If they see a stranger they bring him under their own roof and rejoice over him as if he were their own brother.”

Aristides looked at that first church, that earliest gathering of Christians and he said WOW.

Have you ever looked at a team, group or organization and said, wow?  Why?  Think of the Snowbirds, or a great dance troupe.

Our church today meant to make people say wow…because of our generosity and love of one another, that spills over to the lives of others near us.

We’re intending to becoming this kind of church through our discussion groups first, and also when our discussion groups come together as one community for celebration.

Challenge: If you’re not already meeting with a group, please do.  What act of generosity and service can you do with your discussion group, or family, that will make others in your life say wow?  Think of one thing internal to your group that you do for each other, and one thing your group does for others.

Reminder: Last week we saw the importance of reading the Bible together in sync, so our new daily bible readings start today in our mobile app and web site.

Read the Bible in Sync Today

Ryan Sim - November 4, 2013

Monday - A New Idea - Groups - in Community

Becoming Like Family

We are beginning a new series on “Becoming Like Family” as our online community begin to share the daily challenges with friends, and we begin to gather our larger community together. Why would we bother? One survey found that 59% of 18-29 year old Americans with a Christian background dropped out of church. Four-in-ten American young adults with a Christian background (43%) believe going to church and having Christian friends is optional. Source: It’s clear that not everyone feels it’s essential, and with our use of technology to form a new church, you might think we mean to simply form an “online” church where no one ever meets in person. But we believe it’s essential. We believe church is essential, but to be clear, we are talking about a community of people. We’re not saying going to a building is essential We’re not saying attending a particular kind of worship service with particular kinds of music is essential Those might be good things. But they are things that churches do, not what makes them a church in the first place. We want to ensure our church community will have five main characteristics. The first was learning common things about discipleship, and we explored that last week. The second, this week’s focus, is to be spending time in community together. Some churches do this at bake sales, ham suppers, and such. For us, it will happen in groups that meet regularly to discuss how they’re growing as followers of Jesus. We’ll grow and learn together. Yes, we’ll be learning focused, but we’re also supposed to be a functioning community, a fellowship, in both small groups, and as a large group. Perhaps you’ve heard the saying, “It takes a village to raise a child.” Well, it takes a church to raise a follower of Jesus. Question: Why do you think people might avoid joining a church today? Have you been part of a church before? Why or why not? Reminder: The Following Jesus course in Whitby starts tomorrow – visit Reminder: Last week we saw the importance of reading the Bible together in sync, so our new daily bible readings start today in our mobile app and web site.

From Series: "Becoming Like Family"

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.


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