One thing that I cannot escape as a defining characteristic of the earliest life and activity of the church is its great togetherness. Reading the latter part of the second chapter of Acts is probably where you see it the most. Those who had believed were together A LOT. They were together in the temple. They were together in one another’s houses. It seems that this was even a daily practice of the church.
Another thing that strikes me about this is: I am not very good at it or comfortable with it. It is not exactly one of my areas of strength to be together so often with people. Taking the time to do so is a significant factor, to be sure. Devoting the energy to it with many other things clamoring for that attention is a challenge. Probably many of you are the same as I am to some degree or other in this regard.
But I think you are probably also like me in that ultimately, there is a deep desire for togetherness with others. It is part of how God made us: We need to be with other people in order to be truly satisfied and fulfilled in life. A lack of this closeness with others leaves us very dissatisfied, doesn’t it? And if you have any true commitment to Christ, His people, and His kingdom, you want your church family to be a significant part of fulfilling that longing for togetherness and closeness with others. I am also not alone, I am sure, in feeling often enough that there ought to be a greater closeness between myself and those others who are a part of my church.
And as we started by pointing out, that was the natural reality of life for the early church. They needed, and WANTED, to be together often.
I don’t know just exactly what all we might do together as a church people. There is good fellowship and fun to be had. That is an important and beneficial part of this idea, no doubt. Of course, though, we also want to do more together than just “hang out” and enjoy one another’s company. We also want to minister to others together, to serve Christ’s kingdom and advance it through common efforts and work. We will want to talk and pray and learn together. All of this helps us to envision what our time together might look like, and I am sure that other elements could be added to that picture.
Really, though, my thought and focus at the moment is not primarily on what we might do together. Of course, that is important to think about, but my thought is simply to point out the need and value of our being together to begin with. I am very desirous to see a deeper unity and closeness together as a people and family with my church, and I know that others are as well. Perhaps you are one of those? What might we begin to do that will help foster that unity and closeness as a group?