To Be a Healthy Church
And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. (Acts 2:42)
What makes for a healthy church? There are so many books out there written on the subject of church planting and church growth, it can sometimes begin to seem that having a healthy church is complicated, that there really is no method or rhyme or reason to how church is supposed to be done. Thus, churches often try anything and do anything to attract and keep visitors, to keep their members happy and content, and to keep them coming back. However, the Bible offers an incredibly simple formula for having a healthy vibrant body of believers. In Acts 2:42 we read: “And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” There are four main ingredients to having a healthy biblical church—theology (the apostles’ teaching), fellowship, the sacraments (breaking of bread), and prayer. I say theology because notice it does not say they were focused just on God’s word, but on the apostles’ understanding and teaching of God’s word. It’s not enough that we know God’s word, but that we seek to understand and rightly apply God’s word—the doing of theology. The NT church devoted themselves to fellowshipping. Not just hanging out with each other but from v.45 we see that they were ministering to each other and serving one another. They regularly partook of the sacraments. The phrase “breaking bread” is the NT way of describing the Lord’s Supper (Acts 20:7). And they devoted themselves to prayer. They prayed often and at every given opportunity. And with this simple formula, the church exploded across the Roman world and become the dominant religion by the third century. The NT church was not trying to grow. They were just trying to be biblical. And from that, God provided the growth.
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