“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”
— Acts 2:42-47
I don’t know what you expect when you come together with the people of God on a Sunday morning or Saturday night or whenever this happens for your spiritual family. Do you ever think about why you do this?
Obviously (I think), we come together to worship God. That’s pretty straight forward. We do this in song and preaching and prayer and the Lord’s Supper and in fellowship. We come together because we believe Jesus is there. “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them” (Matt 18:20). We speak words of adoration and praise to Him, proclaiming who He is and what He has done. We surrender our wills to Him. “Present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship” (Rom 12:2). We often speak of encountering Him in this place - having an experience of His love and His presence that we actually feel. This is beautiful.
I want to suggest that we also come together for the purpose of making disciples. For bringing the congregation of our friends and family into greater maturity of the Spirit - greater godliness and holiness and goodness. And we all have a part in this. “What then shall we say, brothers and sisters? When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. Everything must be done so that the church may be built up.” (1 Cor 14:26). ‘That the church may be built up’ does not mean that people will simply feel better about themselves or be happy or whatever, but that as a people we will be stronger. That we will be more able to fulfill the mission of Jesus in our community and world. That we will better overcome the attacks of the enemy that seek to divide us and drag us down into sin and make us timid.
We need to stop being consumers of religious experience - looking around for the best worship or best preaching or best young adult ministry or whatever. The best show or best community or even the best people. Instead, please consider this question: Who is God calling you to join with as family and co-laborers in His Kingdom? And when you do gather, please don’t focus primarily on what you are ‘getting out of it’ or how well you are ‘being fed.’ Maybe think about if you are being equipped to do the work of ministry God has for you. “So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up” (Eph 4:11-12). And beyond that even, maybe prayerfully consider how He is calling you to contribute to this effort when you gather. Maybe you are coming together in a big group, and it seems your role is to sit and respond to what happens on the stage. But what if you are there for more than that? What if you have something to give, even to one other person? Perhaps it’s a warm welcome, an encouraging word, a friendly conversation. Maybe it’s a prayer or a passage of scripture or a testimony to share.
We gather to worship God and to experience Him. To revel in His presence together. We gather to build one another up to greater maturity. To make disciples. To learn to obey and help others do the same. You are called to be more than a spectator.
Let’s stop just going to church. Let’s be the church.
The Tulsa Boiler Room gathers throughout the week in homes:
Monday Evenings at 5:30
Tuesday Evenings at 6:00
Saturday Afternoons at 4:00
We also come together on Sunday mornings at the Merchant (605 S Peoria) at 11:00.
For more info: firstname.lastname@example.org OR (918) 704-5085
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