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 2:44-47
“God recognizes our need for community and desires to meet the need through His church–the body of believers God organized to offer a community of life.” (from Paul:90 Days on His Journey of Faith, by Beth Moore)
I love going to church on Sunday mornings. I love gathering with fellow believers and sharing in the experience of worshiping our God together. I love being challenged through God’s word and the message. I love that children are allowed to sit on the communion rail during Children’s Time. It’s a little thing, but it says a lot about our congregation. And, of course, I love to sing. Church is a safe haven for me. I feel the joy of the Lord on Sunday mornings. Yet, as I was reading through my devotional today, I wondered, “Is our church a community of life?” In many ways, that answer is yes. We are a welcoming and loving congregation. We are a giving congregation. We are generous with our building. We seek to draw people into a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. We are open to change. But when I think about what it means to be a “community of life” through the context of Acts 2, it becomes clear to me that there is still more work to do.
What should a “community of life” look like? Should it end after worship on Sunday afternoon? Should it consist only of the occasional mission drives and collections? Should we gather together in fellowship only on holidays or when the youth are hosting a fundraising dinner? Should regular church attendance be relegated to two Sundays a month? And should Bible study be held only once or twice a week?
When I think about a church as a place which offers a “community of life” I think of people being saved, literally. I picture life rafts being thrown into a raging sea and drowning people being pulled safely to shore. Offering a “community of life” means meeting people’s needs everyday, however we can.
It’s people coming together like the early church and giving up what they have accumulated so that others may have what they need. It’s people engaging with one another regularly beyond the Sunday morning service to grow deeper in their faith and relationship with God.
A “community of life” involves fellowship time together where everyone who enters is welcomed and accepted and valued for who they are. It is a place where hope is given freely and people are willing to see the potential in every new face seeking the Lord.
Offering a “community of life” means living in a way that honors life, so that people who are lost and hurting and hopeless will say, “I want to be here. I need to know this God!”
I LOVE my church. And, more importantly, God LOVES my church. He LOVES your church, too. And he has commissioned us as believers to spread his message of love and hope and forgiveness and grace to those who have not yet heard, those who do not yet know. And we do that by using our resources as a church, the Body of Christ, to offer our communities a “community of life.”
Blessings and Peace,