In the last year at ACF, we’ve been talking a lot about doing church life simply. There are 3 specific things we want to do really well: 1) Our mission at The Well, which is the cafe we run on the main street of our town, 2) Community Groups and 3) our Sunday gatherings. We’ve been looking at each aspect of ministry and vision, and making sure it fits into and funnels through one of these three.
We all come from different church backgrounds, denominations or networks and approach our view of Sunday morning with diverse thoughts and feelings. As families and individuals are added to our ACF family we want to define why we gather on Sundays, why it’s a joy to gather as a community and why our gatherings are essential to healthy church life.
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. (Hebrews 10:24-25 ESV)
Over the last 10 years we’ve seen waves of thought in some Christian circles that have downplayed the need for gathering together as Christian communities. Conversations that I’ve had with people that say, “Well, if God is everywhere why do I need to go to church?”. Recently, writers such as Donald Miller have blogged some very unhelpful comments that have encouraged a neglect of gathering. Others that have an elitist mentality, think themselves to have surpassed the saints and therefore there is nothing a gathering offers them.
But if the writer of Hebrews was inspired by and filled with the Holy Spirit, and penned the very words of God to us, His people, there must have been life in the gatherings they had. Regardless of where we are in our journey of faith, we too need to experience the life of the Spirit in the context which He ordained.
For The Bible Tells Me So
So that brings us to the first reason we gather. The most basic, simple and first reason we gather is because we see it encouraged and demonstrated in the New Testament church. As a family of churches in Newfrontiers, we place a high value on the scriptures and believe them to be more than just suggestions, but instructions that are given and used as a tool by the Lord to release grace to His people.
Different Places & Days
Throughout the world God is working through His church wherever and whenever they gather. Be it in homes, basements, classic church buildings, modern buildings, rented schools and for us, an old movie theatre. Whether it has four walls or no walls at all; whether it’s Sunday or any other day of the week. I want to examine how we are graced in giving, receiving and building together when we gather.
Continued in part 2…