“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” vs. 42
Luke writes that after Pentecost the followers of Jesus, remembering his teachings about the folly of riches and the accumulation of wealth, practiced communism in their faith community. They had all things in common, sold their possessions and distributed the proceeds to all, as any had need. Undergirding those practices was a community life that centered on the apostles’ teaching, fellowship, the breaking of bread, and prayers. It shouldn’t surprise us to see that those four elements have continued to support the Body of Christ through its entire existence. While there are certainly variations, this is the Spirit-led pattern for sustaining vitality in every congregation. In fact, congregations who are serious about evaluating their ministry focus will carefully consider how these four pillars can be strengthened and broadened. Luke tells us that this Jerusalem congregation won the good will of all the people and that their numbers increased daily. We can’t say that merely imitating early Christians is the answer to the dwindling numbers being experienced in our congregations, but it certainly couldn’t hurt. Even though communism, for a lot of reasons, has fallen out of favor among believers, these practices are the conduit through which the power and presence of the living Christ flows into the Body and when they are neglected the whole Body suffers.
Thought for the Day: Where are those four pillars present in my congregation?