They devoted themselves to the Apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. – Acts 2:42-47
I have been to a lot of different churches in my 45 years of living on this planet. Church services come in all shapes and sizes. I have been blessed to learn about the Gospel inside of church buildings, youth meetings, Bible studies . . . they have all been used for my growth in Jesus Christ.
Right now, I’m kind of in “no man’s land” when it comes to church. I’ve been visiting around. I’ve watched more online services during this pandemic than I’ve probably watched in my life. I visited the church that I got to pastor for six years recently. God moved on me in a powerful way there. I am amazed at how God has been using so many outlets to reach me lately.
Here is the question that I’ve been asking myself lately: Where do I want to settle down when it comes to church? I’ve decided, at least for now, that I’m tired of doing what Americans call church. When I read the Bible, nobody ever asked someone the question “Do you go to church?” In the Bible, you were part of the body of Christ . . . in essence, the group who called themselves believers were the church. The question that should be asked today is not, “Where do you go to church?” The question should be, “Are you a part of the church?”
That being said, If I could finish out the rest of my existence on this planet meeting with a group of Christ followers regularly, I’d like it to look a lot different than it does right now. I’m basically just thinking out loud here, but I guess I’m asking you in this WMD if it even sounds appealing to regularly attend a gathering of a group of people that looked more like this:
- There were no paid positions. Speakers were simply speakers who didn’t mind articulating what God was saying to them as they studied His Word and had the Holy Spirit working in their hearts and minds as they tried their best to follow Him.
- There was no real structure to the services. Three songs, two fast followed by one slow, announcements, and then a sermon would not be the norm. You might get an all prayer healing service. You might get an all worship service. You might just get a sermon. You might even just get a person reading the scriptures as passionately as they can. You might even be asked to not come to a service and simply stay home that morning and devote it to individual prayer and study, or even hold a home service with just you and your immediate family. We might break up and meet in each other’s house for food and fellowship. While at these homes, we would pray out loud over them for covering and protection. Probably, you’d get some sort of combination of these . . . just going wherever the Spirit leads.
- There was no specific location. There might be a consistent location, but we would simply meet wherever someone would allow us to meet for free. Most services would probably be outside. No utility bills. No renting. Just asking God to lead us to meet wherever He would like us to meet.
- The leaders would be devoted to nothing but prayer. Too often, leaders are worried about what the people like. I’d like to link up with people who are only worried about what God likes. If you’ve read all the way through the Bible, you know the God of the Bible asks people to do some crazy stuff sometimes. How cool would it be to be around a group of people who wanted to find out what He is asking us to do, and then doing it . . . no matter how dumb we looked doing it to the world around us.
- Tithes would be given straight to those who had need. We would pray for the offering, but we wouldn’t take one up at the services. Each individual would be responsible for allocating his or her money where God led them to give. It might be a struggling church, it might be a struggling family, or it could be a struggling individual. I know you wouldn’t get the tax write-offs this way, but that would not be the reason you were giving anyway. Upon giving to those in need, all that would need to be said is something like, “God loves you. He led me to help take care of this need for you.”
I don’t know if that even sounds good to anybody else. I know most people just want to go sit in church on Sunday morning, go out to lunch, and then enjoy a relaxing afternoon before the next work week begins. If I’m honest, I like that too! It is nice, clean, and super easy. That just isn’t the way I want to finish out the years I have left on this planet. I don’t want to stand before God having done that. I want to find a group of believers who honestly might dare to get together and just believe that we could see the signs, wonders, and miracles that the early church saw. I want to feel God. I want to see His power manifest itself amongst a group of believers who are simply there for Him, and Him alone. Nothing else.
What do you think?