I've been thinking a lot about the purpose of church lately.
What is it?
What's it suppose to look like?
What's the point?
You know, the good stuff.
I think what we have today, however comfortable and "right" it feels, is a long way from what the apostles had in mind when they had church. I think we've missed some stuff over the years.
This is the picture we are given of the early church.
"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."
Look at that. That's beautiful! That's a church I want to be apart of.
1. I think we should eat together.
Food is wonderful. It brings people together. There is community and trust that is built when eating with people. There have actually been studies that have been done in regards to relationships being strengthen and the amount of food eaten together. It was shown that quality time eating with one another deepens relationships. We should eat together.
2. I think we should prayer together more.
I'm not talking those lame pre-meal prayers. I love a good prayer before a meal, but, "God, thanks for food. Amen." Always kind of frustrates me. Don't get me wrong, I've done those plenty of times, but saying a prayer out of obligation or duty isn't what I think God wants prayer ever to turn into. Prayer is us communicating with the maker of everything. That's pretty awesome. And there is power when people come together and have communion with Christ on that level. Sometimes I know it can be strange to just pray out in front of a group or in a circle. But really, it's just us talking with our Father. One of my favorite things is to get together with a group, and whether we have a specific focus or not, to just pray. It's so power. We should pray together, with one another, for one another, way more.
3. I think we should expect awesome stuff from God.
So often I find my expectations of God so much smaller than what He really wants to do. Our God is a God who can and does preform miracles. God loves showing His love to people, I think a big reason people feel unloved by the church and by God is because He is asking us to go out and do something so often, but in fear we decided that it's not actually God asking us to do it, or that it's not important. We need to act when God calls, we need to expect God to show up. He promises that He will.
4. I think we should give more.
Here is the bare minimum that God asks of us in regards to giving. Tithing. Ten precent of what we get. Ten freaking precent. That's nothing. And how often do we actually do that? This is something I think our younger generation really needs to focus more on, the spiritual basics: prayer, bible reading/memorizing, giving, and fasting. But verse 44 isn't even talking about tithing. This is above and beyond that. What this would look like is my friend really needing something, I start selling everything I've got until we both have enough money to provide for his need. Not asking for him to pay me back or get the next thing. Just realizing that everything I have is because God has been good to me and generous, and really none of it is mine, so if he needs something that I have, just giving it to him. This church was together and had everything in common. I think we should be together more and give way more.
5. I think we should spend more time together.
Every day they met together. They had church with each other. They had community. They went to each others homes to share a meal. And because of this they had glad and sincere hearts. I genuinely believe that "church" done right is the answer to so many different problems in our lives. When we come up against temptations or struggles in our lives, if we have solid Christian community surrounding us daily, I truly believe that that is one of the biggest ways to fight against sin. Think of the things you struggle with in your life. Think of what it'd be like to have a group of people around you who you can be open with and real with about your struggles, who know them and help push past them. So when the temptation comes, they literally are right there to help you.
My dream is to have this community living together. I had it for a year at BSHOP (Bridge Street House of Prayer) and it was wonderful. I want it again.
I also believe that one of the ways satan is moving most heavily against our generation is in loneliness, depression, and self-hatred. Think of what would happen to that if you were surrounded by the body of Christ living all of this out. There would be glad and sincere hearts. And think of how many other people who see what we have and how much they'd want it. We live in a very individualist culture that is longing for community. The church is the answer for that. But the church done right.
And it's when all of this comes together that Christ will add to the numbers.
Don't get me wrong on what I said here. I love the church. It's just I don't believe it is working in the way it is truly suppose to be, I think it could be better. I brought up ideas in here that I don't always get right either, I get that and I know that. I'm still a work in progress. This is all a work in progress: me, the church, community. There's a lot of work that needs to be done. But God is good and He is moving and doing wonderful things. I'm excited to see how life pans out.