All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer.
43 A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders.44 And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. 45 They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need.46 They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity—47 all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved. Acts 2:42-47 (NLT)
I grew up and attended the same church until I left for college. I drifted without a “home church” for the next five years until I married and moved. I left the denomination that I grew up in because I could no longer agree or practice its doctrines. I have been a part of a Methodist congregation for over 35 years. I find myself again at a crossroads where I have been seeking God’s wisdom for the last two years. I read Scripture and pray. I affirm to the LORD that I will go wherever He sends me. More than anything else in my life, I want to be in the center of God’s will and plan. But I believe I am, albeit reluctantly, being shown that the fellowship that Jesus modeled for me may not be found in any church membership that I have seen.
Teaching. How important is studying God’s Word in a fellowship? Is the 20 minute sermon on Sunday morning enough? Are there small groups (6-10 people) who commit to meeting regularly? And do they encourage each other to study individually every day, not because of some “law” but because they all are hungry to grow in their relationship with God?
There is worship when we study God’s Word. One of the best teachings I ever experienced was “interrupted” by 30 minutes of spontaneous singing and worshiping of God.
Sharing fellowship. The Acts passage says that the Believers met frequently and ate together including The LORD’s Supper. They liked to just be together. It has been a great joy to discover that God’s vision for a Thursday night supper group that we started in September of this year has become a great blessing, not only to us, but to others who come. We do not meet for study. We just meet to eat and laugh and be together. How much time do we give to sharing what God is doing in our lives every day?
The passage also says that the Believers met together to share and provide for each other. There was no pride but needs were known and people freely gave and helped each other. Do we take our eyes off ourselves long enough to look around and notice the needs of others? Do we care about the needs of widows/widowers and children who do not have their basic needs of food, shelter, caring, and fellowship met? Do we go out to give food away to the homeless and poor but in our hearts we really don’t want them to fellowship with us?!
What does the budget of our resources say about our priorities? How much goes to the needy and how much to salaries and maintaining buildings we use two days a week?
Prayer. And do we pray together more than a corporate “Our Father”? Do we take the time to bring the needs and concerns to God? Do we share how He has answered our prayers? When we meet together is our order more important than taking time to give our burdens to God and be quiet before Him, waiting on His instructions and answers?
My heart is so full with love for my LORD, my bestest friend, and Savior Jesus! I want to spend time with Him and with my believing siblings. I have work and ministry to do. I will go where He tells me to go and I will share His Good News and what He has done in my life with those He brings into my path. But I also want to spend time with like minds and others who also love God more than their lives. God is showing me a fellowship but it doesn’t look like what I grew up with. John Wesley said that the world was his parish. I too am finding a fellowship that is scattered but comes together to meet, study and pray. God has been faithful to give me accountability partners who know me and encourage me but also provide discipline.
My membership is in Jesus’ Army and I live in His Kingdom. His seal of registration is on my heart. When I leave this life and walk through to the next, my membership in a local church will not get me into heaven. It will be my commitment of heart, mind, body and spirit to Jesus Christ.
My Tribute/My Redeemer written by Andre Crouch & Nicole C Mullen sung by Nicole C Mullen