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 favour of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. (Acts 2:42-47 NIV)
We studied the above scripture in our evening service last week. The pastor asked us to listen to the verses, then read the verses, then reflect quietly until a word or phrase touched us in some way. My first thought was that I wished that the church in the 21st Century were more like the early church described in these verses. The word that really resonated with me was the second word – devoted. The members of the early church devoted themselves to the teaching of the apostles, to fellowship, to sharing in communion and to prayer. The results were incredible.
When I examine my own church, and the way that we do church, and the programmes that we run, I am troubled by the fact that we do not see the results that the early church experienced. It’s not that we aren’t devoted. Many people in the church I am part of give a lot of time and energy supporting the church, helping it to function in its small city environment where it is surrounded by pubs and clubs, and where the homeless and the hopeless often gather on the forecourt. I accept that we are called to reach out to our city and to those in need, but have we become too focused on doing while forgetting that we are required to be the body of Christ? Where is the devotion to prayer, to teaching, to fellowship, to sharing? Where are the signs and wonders, and are people being saved and added to our numbers daily? Who are we doing what we are doing for?