“During those days, the entire community of believers was deeply united in heart and soul to such an extent that they stopped claiming private ownership of their possessions. Instead, they held everything in common. The apostles with great power gave their eyewitness reports of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. Everyone was surrounded by an extraordinary grace.” (ACTS 4:32-33 VOICE)
The last days’ church is finally learning what it means to have an Acts 4 church! We think of the “all things on common” phrase as some kind of socialism mentality. It isn’t. For the 21st Century church, it at least in part in part means that the church all across town or all across a geographical has all things in common. Let me explain…
Not every local church is called to have every single kind of ministry under the sun…and it’s OK! We didn’t understand that for so many years. So after wearing ourselves out with dead works, we found ourselves and our members exhausted and less fruitful instead of MORE fruitful.
Look at a healthy, balanced family that cares for and trusts one another. If one part of the family has a need, another is there to undergird it. I grew up next door to Granny and Grandpa. If we needed a ladder and didn’t have it, Grandpa did! If Granny needed a cup of sugar and didn’t have it, Mom did. We shared resources and had whatever we needed.
Same in the Church. We have learned finally (and are still learning) that what part we are meant to contribute to the entire Body is enough, because we are part of the whole. We don’t have to be paranoid of losing our members to the church down the road, or them paranoid of us taking theirs!
If your local church isn’t called to the food bank ministry, don’t open a food bank…but get behind the church who does. If ours doesn’t have a daycare, we can send our kids to yours…and so on, and so on. Encourage participation in the church in your area that does addiction intervention. Speak well of and refer folks to the one which does a great outreach program to high-risk teens. Every strength in every local Bible-teaching church is a win for the entire Body! Build the component for which God has called YOUR church, and don’t fear someone else’s church getting ahead of you. We are running this race together. 3 or 4 strong ministries in each church is so much better than having 30 or 40 that are bearing no fruit but look good (in name only) on our brochures!
Don’t waste what you’re not using. If your church no longer does hymnbooks, donate them to a mission or to a church who does. If a church has had a fire or flood or vandalism, chip in and help that local body to rebuild. Pass on those leftover Sunday School curricula to a house who couldn’t afford its own. Milk every bit of good out of what God’s made available for you by putting it to work in someone else’s hands, too! These things are the 12 baskets of fragments taken up after the 5000 have been fed. They’re gathered because they’re not meant to be left to waste!
I can remember a time when it wasn’t that way. Churches were catty with one another. We wouldn’t cheer one another on, for fear of someone else’s church outgrowing ours. So we had little congregations of disconnected believers who were (yes, I’ll call it what it is) PREJUDICED toward one another! And we couldn’t grow. We weren’t busy winning new souls because we were too busy trying to keep our members from running off to join the new, hip church down the road.
Thank the Lord for bringing us to a new day. God is unifying the Body of Christ and eroding the electric fences of denominationalism. We need the strength of organized churches, and it’s a good thing to belong to a group where there’s safety in numbers, but a logo or name need never define us as a separate part of the Lord’s Body. It feels good now, because it’s RIGHT, that we support one another’s churches, ministries, and that we all can come together in prayer and a unified purpose: to win souls and to be salt and light to the world who hasn’t yet found Him.
I love every time Church in the Mountains hosts an event and so many of the local churches here in Mingo/Pike throw off their labels for a night and just worship and seek God’s face together. Our Father is pleased. When we learn to get it right, we will see more territorial strongholds broken because God isn’t blocked by our own territorialism! We will see more Winchester KY breakthroughs where drug capitals turn into portals of evangelism and deliverance.
I’m excited for what is about to just take off and explode with growth in our area, as our churches learn to embrace the truth that each local house is a member in particular! As we do, these little buildings are going to pack out with the lost who are finally seeing that we are the Lord’s disciples, because we have love one to another.
When you pray for your own church and pastor today, call out the names of the other churches and pastors in your town, too. Ask God to bring revival not just in your house, but in their houses too. There’s not one building big enough to hold us all, but God has definitely got enough work for all of us to do if we’ll just be about His business! Pray and get ready for your local church to bring in its share of the harvest!