…with a stop in Montgomery, AL last night, where I saw my good friends Chris and Mandy. We are in Tallahassee now, only a few hours away from Orlando. We’ll be at our final destination by lunch time tomorrow and I have no idea what’s going to happen once we get there.
Chris and I went out for beers on Saturday night and we talked about love, marriage, this blog, and my “no-plan plan” for Orlando. We also talked about my idea for planting churches in bars and what church would look like in such a setting. Lane and I talked more about this on the drive from Alabama to Florida, sketching out possible formats and schedules.
I’m not a big fan of many contemporary “Church” models because I believe it’s too easy for people to grow comfortable and remain unchanged in them. How, then, should a Church look? To answer that question I’m going to walk quickly through Acts Chapter 2 (a chapter often referred to as the best model for Church) and highlight the points which describe the first century Church as it was forming:
- The apostles and other close disciples of Jesus meet regularly in a rented room where they were staying, joining together in prayer (Acts 1:13-14)
- They read Scripture and used it to address real-world problems for the body of believers as a group (Acts 1:20)
- They met in a publicly-accessible space where the Holy Spirit manifested Himself to reach non-Christians (Acts 2:5-6)
- A leader boldly confronted non-believers of their need for repentance (Acts2:14-40)
- Multiple leaders taught new believers, presumably describing their eyewitness accounts of Jesus’ ministry, death, and resurrection. The disciples also served one another, ate together, and prayed together (Acts 2:42)
- The Holy Spirit manifested Himself through the apostles for the benefit and edification of the disciples (Acts 2:44)
- Everyone sold their possessions to help other disciples who were in need (Acts 2:45)
- They met together every day outside the “church” and they ate together in each others’ homes, giving praise to God (Acts 2:46)
I don’t see people meeting for an hour once every week. I don’t see 30% of the believers supporting the other 70%. I don’t see a prosperity gospel. I don’t see people meeting in an established house of worship. I don’t see separate adult and children’s ministries. I don’t see waxed BMW M3’s parked next to rusting Toyota Corollas. I don’t see a group of people using “church” as a way to gain power and prestige, get a tax write-off, or make friends. I don’t see leaders confronting a room of believers behind four walls away from the general public. I don’t see people dropping $5 in the offering bucket. I don’t see one man teaching from a stage.
I see a group of people who witnessed a man claiming to be the Son of God die, and then saw that same man walking around three days later. I see a group of people so convinced of what they witnessed that they met every day, ate in each others’ homes, prayed together constantly, and sold their possessions to help the poorer members of their group. I see the Holy Spirit manifesting in public. I see people meeting on the sidewalk in front of the house of worship they used to call home because though they were no longer welcome inside, they hoped to reach brothers and sisters from their former faith. I see a group of people who loved one another and who had an intense mutual interest to serve God and one another.
Does your church model look anything like Acts 2?