What do you think about when you say the word “church”?
Do you mean that you are going to a building on Sunday morning?
Are you singing songs? Or maybe there is a sermon?
Do you mean the people? The people are the church?
Do you meet in homes? In a cathedral? In a park?
Very frequently, the word “church” conjures several ideas in a person’s mind, most of which are based on the person’s past experiences or what they have been told by others.
But these ideas may not necessarily be what we are referring to when we speak about the church. Instead, at Chiesa Antiochia, we want to think most specifically about what the church should do and allow the form of the church to develop after this.
We want to base our ideas of what the church should do from the description of the very first church. Here is how the church started and how the church is described in the book of Acts:
“Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.”
When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”
Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off —for all whom the Lord our God will call.”
With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.
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 favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.Acts 2:36-47
So, what did this first church do?
We can see the following things that happened in the church:
- Peter called the people to repentance
- The people were baptized
- They received the Holy Spirit and the apostles performed signs and wonders by the power of the Holy Spirit
- They had leaders – the apostles
- The leaders taught the people the Word of God
- They stayed together in fellowship
- They broke bread together, taking the Lord’s Supper
- They prayed together
- They gave – they even sold their property and gave money to others to support those who were in need
- They loved one another, eating together, spending time together in each other’s homes
- They praised and worshipped God
- They made disciples of Jesus from other new people, adding them to the church
We created a video to help us visualize each of these points above:
So to be a church means that we are doing these things. It doesn’t necessarily mean that we are only doing these things, but these are the foundational and necessary activities of the church to have a healthy church. Therefore, if you meet in homes, or you meet in a public area, or you meet in a church building, each of these could be considered a fully functional and healthy church.
In addition, maybe you meet on Sunday or you meet on Thursday, or any other day or time, you can have a fully functional and healthy church.