8 Essential Principles the Church Must Embrace for a Missional Movement by Joseph Mattera for Charisma News
As narrated in the book of Acts, the New Testament Church is both a prescriptive and descriptive account that illustrates a pattern for contemporary congregations.
The following are eight essentials the contemporary church must embrace for missional movement:
1. We need corporate seasons for insight and reflection before a movement is properly birthed (Acts 1). Acts 1 shows how 120 of the disciples of Jesus spent ten days together in prayer, comparing Scripture and making leadership decisions. This ensured that the foundation of the burgeoning movement would be secure. Their goal was to work toward oneness as it related to the understanding and preaching of the Good News of the Messiah considering His bodily resurrection and ascension as King into heaven. Without this period of waiting upon God and reflection, the massive, spontaneous addition of 3,000 people after Peter’s first sermon could have resulted in chaos and destroyed the movement. The contemporary church must take adequate time every season to wait upon God in prayer and biblical reflection in order to be ready for the gospel’s movement.
2. The growing church devoted itself to the essentials of the faith (Acts 2:42). Acts 2:42 says that immediately after the Day of Pentecost, the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ doctrine, to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Visitors to Jerusalem that converted abandoned plans to go back to their homeland so they could sit under the apostles’ teaching. This apostolic doctrine shaped their social gatherings, common meals and corporate prayer. Without this, the activities of the church would have been based upon subjective experiences and opinions of gatherers. The contemporary church must also establish believers in the first principles of the faith if they are going to experience a prolific gospel movement.
3. The ethical standards of holiness must be maintained (Acts 5:1-11). Acts 5:1-12 relay the narrative of the judgment upon Ananias and Saphira. This illustrates how the standard of holiness and the fear of the Lord must be maintained to ensure the health of the church. If God allowed them to continue lying, manipulating and receiving honor deceptively through giving gifts (which amounts to dirty politics), it would have spread like yeast and eventually would have corrupted the church. It is not an accident that God began to do extraordinary miracles as soon as this couple was removed from the church (Acts 5:12-14). The contemporary church must understand that we limit the capacity for God to move through us whenever we allow unbiblical standards to permeate our church.
4. Unbiased care and compassion for all (Acts 6:1-7). Almost immediately after the birth of the Jesus movement, ethnic sectarianism and bias reared their ugly heads. This took place when the Greek-speaking widows were being overlooked when food was being distributed. Peter had enough wisdom to appoint seven men of integrity and wisdom who would oversee this ministry, resulting in every widow’s needs being met, the Word of God spreading and the number of disciples multiplying. The contemporary church must understand the principle that there is a strategic challenge to overcome before every great move of God.