Traits 2 and 3: CommUNITY and Corporate Prayer
Popular Churches Maybe we need to do some soul searching. Is my church or your church’s clear objective to make disciples or gain members? If it’s the latter, read no further. You won’t find traits of the popular mega churches, featuring gifted musicians, flashy worship, dynamic preachers, and exciting programs. Most of their growth we know, comes from members migrating from other churches, not from making new disciples.
We focus on those traits gleaned from the teachings of Jesus, the apostles that were lived out by New Testament believers. Some traits, like yesterday’s, “A Good Reputation”, is surprising. Pastors rarely mention it. Yet it was a common theme of the apostles. They understood that if you want get people to hear God’s message of love, you must exemplify it by the quality of your life together.
Good Gossip. Unbelievers in Jerusalem were all abuzz about this strange new sect. These followers of Jesus were full of joy and enjoyed one another. They took good care of their poor. This impressed the good people of Jerusalem. Christians became a hot topic of gossip.
They Prayed Together and Stayed Together Right from the start these disciples practiced what Jesus preached. External threats and inner discord were both met with united prayer. ”All of them, with one mind and heart, persevered in prayer. (Acts 1:14.) The King James translation had it right. They were in one accord, the Greek word, ὁμοθυμαδὸν [hom-o-thoo-ma-DON] which Luke used often, described this church’s solidarity.
When faced with challenges, this church was effective because they not only had united prayer as a priority, they expected answers. At one point, Luke reports there were complaints that needy believers of Greek background were being neglected in the distributions. The apostles that ,“It is not right that we wait on tables, but must devote ourselves to prayer and the ministry of the Word. The issue was quickly resolved to everyone’s satisfaction.
Bible Studies Today, pastors have many Bible studies. Funny Luke doesn’t tell us anywhere this was an activity of this effective church. And when we have prayer in church, pastors do our praying for us.
In this highly effective church, when jealous Jewish leaders threatened them, they united in prayer and God poured out His favor. Today when we face internal discord or external pressures, we have a meeting. A brief prayer is offered, then we get down to the real business of discussing, debating and deciding. For the effective church, united prayer is the real business.
Lord Jesus, great head of your church, enable us to recover the power and grace that once turned the world right-side up. Do it again, please Lord. Bring your people together in the sincere love of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. AMEN.
YOUR COMMENTS ARE NOT ONLY WELCOME, THEY ARE NEEDEDHI TO ENCOURAGE US IN T HIS WORK.