The Church That Jesus Is Building – Part Eight

There are five basic steps we see Jesus take to see people come into the Kingdom and thus allow the Church to be healthy and grow… We are looking today at step #4…

4> GATHER:
God’s people gather so as to celebrate His goodness (Hebrews 10:25)
God’s people gather to be equipped to do the work of the ministry (Ephesians 4:11-12)
God’s people gather to worship and enjoy God’s presence as a group / family
God’s people gather to hear the Word of the Lord for that local assembly

But this is a little different – this is when you gather non-believers for a meal in your home

People who would not accept an invite to your church service will accept an invitation to come to your home for a meal
Or, a picnic in the park
Or, coffee at a coffee shop or cafe…

Tony Collis, a New Zealander, says:

“Families eat together, and so does the family of God. For the early church, the dinnertime became the love feast during which time they celebrated communion. While they ate together, they shared victories, challenges, and insights. As they consumed they communed. Still today we build relationships over cappuccino at cafes or pizzas in the park. Strangers become friends after only a few minutes eating together, because what can go wrong over food? In a new church plant, the hostess of the meeting had a visitor who stayed for a short time to get a handle on who we were and what we were doing. She was invited to stay and enjoy the meal, and she did. By the end of the evening she became a new member of the group. Food had made a friend.”

Eating together is a very important part of church

That is why the New Testament Church met from house to house and shared meals together.
They were experiencing true family and authentic community – they shared meals and life together, rather than just sitting in a pew and seeing the back of somebody’s head once a week

We don’t need to package the church meetings doing the same thing every week

There’s no need to have a guitar, five songs, and a sermon. If all we are doing is the same thing week-in and week-out then it will often have no life. Remember we are talking about life (see previous blogs in this series). Eating together and discussing life and sharing what is happening with us during the previous week is real life. And people are attracted to this form of church as it is ‘natural’ to them.

When we gather around food and hang out together life will be seen and experienced. And, it will attract non-believers…

Look at Jesus: He was very much a leader in that He spoke with authority. He could say, “Here are the boundaries; here’s where we are going,” but He exercised His authority from beside, not from above. He was not interested in getting a meeting established – He wanted a movement to be born! He was going for the long haul, the big picture. He modeled a style of leadership that facilitated many leaders and participants. He met with His followers, taught, shared life, and ate together with them regularly.

The early church followed this model (Acts 2:42).

So the steps are…
1> Pray
2> Meet (people)
3> Make (disciples)
4> Gather
5> Multiply

We will look at the fifth step tomorrow…

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