A healthy church has been designed by God to be committed to Him, His church, and His mission to spread the Gospel. In spite of the hardships, culture, and political atmosphere, the church in Acts thrived on this purpose. Today’s church must recognize that in order to be healthy, we must commit ourselves to thriving in community together!
The model for healthy churches is found in Acts 2.
And 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)
The foundation of our relationship with one another begins with our relationship with God. When we look at the early church, they had a deep understanding of the common bond that they had with one another. It was birthed in a relationship with God and empowered by the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives.
The church became for them a place to belong. A family of believers that not only wanted to be together but to work together for the kingdom. The presence of the Holy Spirit actively working in their lives was evident because of the willingness they had to work in tandem together.
When the Holy Spirit filled the disciples on the day of Pentecost, it made indelible changes in each person’s life. The disciples who had been previously worried about who was going to be first or honored in the Kingdom, are now willing to lay their lives down for one another. The Holy Spirit changed their perspective of the Kingdom and of the value of the body of believers.
It also changed each believer whose life was transformed to becoming sold-out disciples who had all things in common with one another. God then worked through this community of believers to provide for us a model for the current church. Miracles along with community transformations happened because this was a group that was committed to God and others.
Community of Believers
And all who believed were together and had all things in common. Acts 2:44 (ESV)
Walking the journey of life together with other believers is the basis for a strong sense of community. Making and building relationships with those we stand and work shoulder to shoulder with is key to maintaining our unity and forward progress as a church.
What is a Community?
It is a unified body of individuals with common character and interests. Who share joint ownership and participation in something bigger than themselves. In fact, the church should be the model for the world what it means to walk in a community together. We are the example of what it means to live in healthy relationships with one another!
The Benefits of Community
The first benefit of community is that we have a sense of belonging when we are in healthy relationships. We are designed by God to live in relationships and have a connection with others. God is relationally centered and we have been created with the need to be in community with one another.
The church has been specifically designed to meet the relational needs that we have in our lives. It must be people who develop and deepen relationships that go beyond the surface. It must be more than a place of casual acquaintances, but one of encouragement, challenge, and grace. Intentional relationships require effort to foster the connection necessary to carry us through the difficulties of life.
The second benefit of the community is having a sense of support from others. The church was designed to be a support system for the community of believers. Discipleship, ministry, outreach, worship, and challenges of life, all require us to be dependent on one another to move forward.
Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken. Ecclesiastes 4:9–12 (ESV)
We All Have Issues and Problems
The world is constantly pressing down on us and it is during these times that the church as a community really shines. Leaning in on one another can help us carry the load. When others are struggling, we can do the same for them.
When we share the load, we can step up and support one another through this life. If we don’t share the load, then frustration sets in, failures happen, and people end up falling away. The value of the church community can not be overstated!
We are Better Together
Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. Ephesians 4:15–16 (ESV)
We are better together and can do so much more for the kingdom than we can do alone. If we are going to be used exponentially to do the work of the kingdom, we must not only submit ourselves to the will and purpose of God but must commit to working in community as His body!
When the body is actively working together, utilizing ministry gifts, and operating in our strengths, amazing results will follow. There is a sense of completeness that happens when the body works in tandem with one another to accomplish the mission.
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