by Brian Knitter
Right after Peter gave the "first sermon" of the new church, the new church was formed. They met in homes and in the temple courts. They congregated daily, and gave freely to anyone who had need. They praised God with sincere hearts, listened to the teaching of the apostles, and witnessed many miracles. The people were filled with awe. It's no wonder the church grew rapidly!
Acts 2:42-47 is a wonderful model of how "church" should function. It is a model that all churches today should adhere to. Notice how everyone was "in agreement." They all knew what they believed; they all knew the work that needed to be done, and they did that work with gladness. Notice too that the apostles (today's church staff) did not do all the work. Their job was to preach/teach, guide and oversee the church. It was the "congregation," if you will, that was doing the outreach and taking care of its members. Notice that no one was saying "I don't need to go to church to be a Christian" (or something to that effect). No, quite the opposite -- they relished the chance to get together as often as possible to eat, converse, learn and eat (yes, I said eat twice -- this passage of scripture mentions "breaking bread" twice as well. "Potlucks" and communion were vital to the early church. When they weren't learning in the temple court, they were in someone's home eating!). If we think of the temple courts as the church building (since churches weren't invented yet), and we think of the homes as small group meetings ("Lifegroups" in our church), we have an excellent model of how our modern church should function. The "church" teaches, and small groups take care of their members while continuing to learn about Christ; while eating. Now, some have suggested that this passage of scripture also gives blessing to Communism and Socialism. In the governmental and economic sense, I would say no. The early Christians sold possessions, yes, but they gave as there was a need -- they did not put their collective assets into a pool for some overseeing group to control. To them, it was more a matter of the heart. They gave out of love (Though not overtly stated, I bet they were all tithers as well; giving to the church with glad hearts so the apostles could concentrate on their calling.). They also did not live in a commune, as some have suggested, they just chose to meet often. Meeting often with fellow believers shows love, caring and concern, which is what the church should be all about! Finally, they grew in numbers as they invited their friends to join in the fun.
That's church. You are the church. Go make church happen with a glad heart!