“Is my home group a church?” you may ask. “We don’t have a pastor and we are only a few families that meet together.”
“Does time of day and day of the week have to do with if we should call this a church? Can a church meet on a Tuesday night and still be a church?” Again, good questions.
It is important to answer these. What is it that makes a church a church? A great place to find answers is to look at the early church described in Acts.
In Part 2, we looked at five of the functions of the early church from the passage below. We will now take a look at the remaining five. These are church essentials if we desire to be like the New Testament church.
41 Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.
42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 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. Acts 2:41-26 NIV
GENEROUS & SACRIFICIAL GIVING
Generosity is one of the characteristics of revival. When God is at work, our natural response of gratitude and love is to give! In the early church, extreme giving was seen. People sold what they had to meet the needs of others. There was a lot more than “tithing” happening in this New Testament church. Sadly, what we often see in developing nations is a hesitancy to train new believers to give. We sometimes don’t even give new believers the opportunity to obey Jesus in this way, because we fail to take offerings. We are afraid to offend them, or we think they are too poor to give. This is a big mistake! It hinders the growth of both the individual the church.