Last week Pastor Stephen Kaburia invited me to preach at the church plant God is using him to establish in the village of Mataara. I reminded the about 50 gathered people that Jesus had purchased the church with His blood. This established this new church amidst the tea fields was highly valuable and not an accident. The object of the message was for the church to continue and the text was Acts 2:41-47. Here are brief highlights as an encouragement for other new churches.
It is often said the points of the apostles doctrine, fellowship, breaking of bread and prayers in verse 42 are the core components of a healthy church. They are, but I like to point out there is a fifth component mentioned in verse 41.
After Peter’s sermon, 3,000 were baptized and added. This places a high emphasis for new Jesus followers to be baptized as they enter the church. It also affirms the need for new churches to emphasize, encourage, and regularly offer baptism. The right teaching of God’s word, fellowship, common meals and prayers will steadfastly follow.
In verses 43-45 the burgeoning church at Jerusalem displayed Christ followers living in community, suffering in community and sacrificing as a community for the betterment of the community. It is significant that these acts of sacrifice happened outside the normal meeting place of the church. I proposed the most important testimonies and the most important work of the church will almost always be done outside the church building.
While such extreme measure are not always called for (though likely more than many believe), the concept sacrifice for each other is basic for a church plant. The gathered worshippers in Mataara were all of a particular tribe, but I mentioned the context of these verses infer these sacrifices were for people of different nations, tribes and tongues, making it important for all church plants to invite in outsiders and sojourners.
While the most important work of the church will likely not be done in a church building, it also will likely not be done during regularly scheduled meetings. There is great Biblical precedent and tradition for the Sunday church meetings, but verse 46 tells us the church continued daily. A new church needs to understand worship of the true and living God is seven days a week, simply in all areas of life.
I used the illustration of how many times we have been at a burial and heard the deceased had been a great lover of God. The point being we should not find out someone was a God lover by a pastor standing over a box, but our life with God should be evident day by day to those around us.
Continuing in the Gospel
The praise of God on all days, outside the church walls is attractive. Verse 47 tells us as the new church at Jerusalem did this, God added to them daily. We can expect the same in a new church today.
I explained how we have been blessed to see former prostitutes and drunkards turn from their sin to the Gospel of Christ. It was not because they stopped their actions, but because God inhabits the praises of His people that purposely went to those that will not wander into a church building. It was the attractive grace of God in His redeemed people, some formerly in similar bondage, that draws people out of sin and added them to His church.
This led to the conclusion, which was posed in a question; what was the most important thing that has ever happened in their village? Depending on the context there were many possible answers. For my purpose I proposed the most important event in the history of the village was the founding of the church we gathered as. That church, like all God ordained church plants, is the institution and instrument to deliver the power of God to salvation and then gather a community of Christ followers to offer praise.
Ed Compean is a church planting coach based in Nairobi with his wife Kelli. You can read their blog or follow him on Twitter @Ed_Compean.