The Book of Acts was written to show us the history of the early church and how it grew to be one of the most powerful entities in the world. The early church modeled for us how they became strong and expanded:
Acts 2:42-45: And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43 And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. 44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need.
Now, pay attention to the geographical nature of verse 46:
46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.
Did you catch that? They GATHERED together in the TEMPLE regularly, AND, they SCATTERED out into PEOPLE’S HOMES or more intimate spaces and places regularly. It was their rhythm. It was their pattern.
One place. Many places.
Large space. Small spaces.
Many voices. Few voices.
Not either/or. It’s a both/and.
Just like a football team gathers together for the team huddle, Sundays is when we gather to get the play for the week. Then we scatter in groups to run that play out on the playing field of life. If the play for the week is forgiveness, we are to run with forgiveness on our minds and hearts into every area of life. If the play for the week is prayer, we are to run with that all week long.
I don’t know if you’ve ever been in a football locker room at half-time, but it’s a crazy (and quite frankly, a smelly) place. Often what happens is different parts of the team get together (like the offensive line, DB’s, etc) and they ask each other 3 questions:
1. What do you see out there?
2. What adjustments do we need to make?
3. How can we help each other accomplish the play?
There is great power and value in gathering together in church on Sunday morning. We can accomplish so much more together than apart. We're better together! There’s also great power in meeting together in homes to encourage one another, pray for one another, and explore the Bible as a playbook for how to know God and live life. We're better together there too!
In the past few decades I’ve noticed a lot of people want to redefine church. Honestly, it doesn’t need redefinition. We don’t need to mess with it. God knew what he was doing and knew how it would function best. Acts 2 says it perfectly. Church is where messed up but growing people gather who want to know God more and are walking together to make known God’s riches, blessings, forgiveness, redemption, and Jesus known.
“Nature is my church”.
“I watch church on TV/online.”
“CenturyLInk Stadium is my church.”
If you can do Acts 2 stuff like devote yourselves to the apostle’s teaching, true Biblical fellowship, take communion, publically pray, do baptisms, share stuff, and see God move in the hearts of people on top of a mountain or on your TV or ipad, or at CenturyLink, then count me in! Let's do church there! That’d be very cool. But if not, those may be “spiritual experiences” for us, but, it’s not church. Church is so much more.
Hebrews 10:24-25 says, "And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near." We need each other!
Want to thrive? Live the gathered and scattered life. Live in community with one another. Join a community group or find a few other Christians to connect with in a smaller space. Then gather with us at NorthCreek Church in the Bothell Woodinville area. Come take your right next step with us!