The book of First Corinthians ends (as most of the epistles do) with greetings from church leaders to the church for whom the letter was intended. This particular greeting specifically references Aquilla and Priscilla and the church that was meeting in their home.
We often romanticize the early church and, why wouldn’t we? It seemed so simple and it’s impossible to argue with its effectiveness. The gospel spread like wildfire! Acts 2:42-47 tells us that the churches devoted themselves to Biblical teaching, to fellowship, to eating together and to prayer. Colossians 3:16 adds that they sang hymns and worshiped together.
We know that life for people in the early church was hardly ever private. Everything that was done was done in full view of their neighbors (until persecution forced them underground). Early Christians lived transformed lives right out in the open for all of their community to see which might account for much of their success. Changed lives win new people.
Robert Banks wrote, “We find no suggestion that these meetings were conducted with the kind of solemnity and formality that surrounds most weekly Christian gatherings today.”
If you find yourself longing for church that feels more like that, I have good news! Small groups, Sunday School classes and Bible study groups serve just this purpose in modern churches. These are the places that allow us to connect with others, serve others, grow with others and live in front of our communities with others. Statistically, over 50% of church goers are not part of a small group, but if you aren’t you are missing out!
At a training for small group leaders at our church our pastor once told us, “You are your groups first pastor.” We went to a large church and he knew that it wouldn’t be possible for him to meet every need of every person in our church. The day to day needs of the people in our group were our responsibility.
Eighty percent of people who quit church report that they did so because they didn’t feel any relational connection to anyone at their church. What a shame! If you aren’t in a small group community, please get in one pronto. If you are already a part of one, reach out to the 50% of people around you in your church and invite them to yours. It may be the difference between someone quitting church or thriving in their walk with Jesus.
(For those who have missed any of the previous lessons, you can go to https://comethirstyministry.com/blog/ and view all previous postings.)
Day 1: 1 Corinthians 14:26-39 (women and worship)
Day 2: 1 Corinthians 16:1-24 (Priscilla)
Day 3: Ephesians 5:1-33 (wives)
Day 4: Ephesians 6:1-20 (obey your mother!)
Day 5: Philippians 4:1-20 (Euoda and Syntyche)