6 Paths Toward Restoring True Christian Community by KEITH COLLINS for Charisma News
Millions of modern Christians have forgotten the true meaning and purpose of spiritual community.
Think about it. I’ll say two words—”church” and “fellowship.”
What do you picture? A weekly service? A gathering to sing worship songs, give offerings and hear a sermon? A midweek Bible class?
That’s the default mindset of most Western believers today. And none of those practices are bad in themselves. God can use them to produce great fruit in our lives! But is that all?
The Forgotten Fire of True Fellowship
Think about it. The early church was not born tucked away below a towering steeple. God birthed our movement out of radical community.
It all began when 120 believers gathered together in an upper room (see Acts 2:1). The Holy Spirit fell, and the gospel immediately spread like wildfire. First, 3,000 were saved, then 5,000 (Acts 2:41, Acts 4:4). In a matter of hours, the Christian church became a vibrant spiritual community pulsating with the passion and purposes of Jesus Christ.
These early disciples immediately “devoted themselves … to fellowship” (Acts 2:42, NIV)—and that doesn’t mean they went to church all day (an idea which would have seemed foreign to them). Acts tells us what it looked like:
“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved” (Acts 2:42-47, ESV).
Yes, these fiery saints didn’t care where they had to gather. They felt thrilled to meet at home, in the temple courts, in a synagogue, on the street or in the market, as long as they could seek Jesus’ face and represent Him to a dying world.
Why? Because above all, they longed to advance God’s kingdom. To do that, they would willingly sacrifice everything—even sharing their hearts, homes, food, faith and finances, having “all things in common” (Acts 2:44b, ESV).
“Church” in the 21st Century
Fast forward to today. Many modern Christians see “church” as a mere meeting. Even worse, they measure spiritual success just like the world measures entertainment. Was the speaker polished? Was the singer talented? Was the music beautiful? How was the show?
The fact is, we’ve learned to appeal to man’s desires rather than God’s. As a result, we’ve exchanged God’s glory for sterile religion void of the kingdom’s power.