This week we’ve studied four practices of the first church community. Should we copy them?
Some try – indeed sell everything, gather daily, etc. just like in this book. But most don’t.
Most Christians agree this sets a pattern and principles, and those principles are what is meant to be emulated, not the exact circumstances.
Churches in our world today will take on these practices in various ways.
The Apostles’ Teaching and Fellowship
Some churches have many readings from the Bible, a short sermon. Some have one short reading, and a very long sermon about it. Some focus on studying the bible in groups at home, others in groups at church, others in groups on GO Trains like us. What matters is continuity with the apostles’ teaching.
Breaking of the Bread
Some do this weekly, others less frequent. Some have one common cup, or even a precious chalice, while others have individual portions in smlall cups. Some consider it a symbol and reminder, others see it as a precious moment of heaven touching earth when God’s actual presence is made tangible.
Prayers and Worship
Some churches focus on common prayer – many people praying the same things at once. Others focus on individual prayer, everyone praying using their own words and thoughts.
Some churches try to live this out verbatim, but not many. I know some people building a co-living building, where many families will live in their own spaces, but share eating and cooking areas, playrooms, etc. They are trying as much as possible to share life in this way. But others see this as a practice of generosity – retaining ownership, but sharing as others have need.
There is lots of variation within each practice. What matters most is that the practice is preparing them for their mission…living and telling the good news of Jesus in the world.
These practices are essential to being a church, a community of people following Jesus. You might have been surprised, many of the most visible elements of modern church life are missing!
But for any church, these are the principles they need to continually recover and refocus. Our church is going the opposite way – starting with these practices, preparing us for our mission in the first place, and then our challenge comes later in maintaining this focus.
Challenge: With whom can you gather to start adopting these practices? As a small group, and as a large group. Which of these four would you find hardest, and easiest?
Meeting with a Group? Your discussion questions are in this week’s Group Study Guide[permalink append=”#comments”]Discuss the Challenge[/permalink]