All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles teaching, and to fellowship and to sharing in meals (including the Lord's Supper), and to prayer. A deep sense of awe came over them all and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders. And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need. They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord's Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity - all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved. - Acts 2:42-47
The earliest churches didn't have Sunday school classes, or choir rooms, or mid-week programs, or fundraisers. They were simply a community. Just a tight-knit group of believers sharing life, and everything they had with each other.
There was no building because the church wasn't a place, it was just a group of people.
This is what is the church is supposed to be today.
This is what Christ designed it to be.
I am the church, you are are the church, WE are the church TOGETHER.
Our children need this sense of community because it shapes them, it gives them a place to belong, and it gives them purpose.
The church is the only community that will teach them:
- We should love people - especially the ones who are mean to us
- We should stick up for people when a situation is unfair
- We should give, not just what we can afford to lose - but sacrificially
- We should see every person has worth because they are made in God's image
The church is the only community that will accept us and them even if:
- We're weird
- We have a past
- We are different
- Society rejects us
- We have nothing to offer
- We messed up
- We keep messing up
The church is the only community that will give us and them eternal purpose:
- To serve the poor
- To stand up against injustice
- To love people with grace and humility
- To put others first every time
Our faith journey was never meant to be lived out in secret personal devotion to God. We were made to live in community and the church was designed to provide that community for all people. But it doesn't happen through 45 minutes a week in a pew or a classroom. It happens in homes, at BBQs, during stay-up-all-night-sleepovers, and mission trips, weekly coffee dates, and family dinners.
We need to provide these moments for our kids (and for ourselves) because fellowship is important. Talking about the Bible is important, and learning ABOUT God is important. But before our kids can feel like God KNOWS them, CARES about them, and has A PLAN for their lives... first they need to feel like the church community KNOWS them, CARES about them, and have a PLACE for them.
Let's follow the example of the early believers and prioritize fellowship. Let's create opportunities for laughter, sharing, food, and friendship. We begin to do this we will begin to help our kids discover their place in the church family.
1. Come be in community. It's more than Sunday morning, or Thursday nights. What can you do to connect with someone else in your church family this year? Could you invite another family over for dinner? Host a pool party at your house? Invite your child's church friends over for a sleep over or movie night? How can you strengthen their community this year?