Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Woven together

I started with the realisation that I’ve been attending the same church for 21 years.  I feel like I’m part of the fabric of this community, I’ve been woven into its very texture. 

Photo Credit: ©  Ellashouli Used with permission.

Although I’ve occasionally visited services at other churches, this is the one that feels like home.  Like in family, I am known there, with all my faults and failings, yet I’m also fully accepted and loved.

This church is more than just a community club.  Although we do socialise together, more importantly we worship and pray together.  We challenge each other, and support each other.

Luke the Physician describes the earliest known Christian church as follows:

The fellowship of the believers
(Acts 2:42-47 NIVUK)
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 favour of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

(Some online resources for background reading about Luke and the book of Acts can be found here)

Okay, we’re not that good.  We don’t meet daily, we don’t share communal property, and miraculous wonders and signs are a  rarity.  And to be honest, if I did find a 21st century church that did meet daily and share communal property I’d probably by quite cautious of it, and checking it carefully on cultwatch.  There are lots of Christian Communities that are very good, but I can also think of lots of examples that start well then go astray.

Why is that, I wonder?

While I was reflecting on the good things about our church, I decided that what makes a great church is relationship:

  • Between the people and God
  • Between the leadership and the congregation
  • Within the congregation
  • Between the Church and the wider community

Relationships are like the warp threads that bind the individuals together into a unique community.

Photo Credit: ©  Ellashouli Used with permission.

The quality and depth of relationships is, in my opinion, the most important characteristic our 21st century church has in common with the 1st century church.

What do you think makes an awesome faith community?

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