We’re going to begin a short blog series on what does a house church look like? It begs us to ask the question because each house church looks different and yet what must become clear in the context of our distinguishing communities is the heartbeat of who we gather around. Jesus was the center of the Acts 2 fellowship, not a church or a person or a building.
God ordained that believers would become a group working as one body to enjoy God’s presence and accomplish His purposes. Just as it says in 1 Corinthians 12, we are one body with many parts. We all have different roles and different giftings. However, we are one body under one head, Jesus. We must ask God for a vision of what true fellowship looks like that begins from looking and staring at Jesus, not programs or what other people are doing/saying.
It is no small secret that apart from his teaching, outward ministry and healings, the activity that Jesus participated in most was praying. His disciples saw this modeled early in his ministry.
“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.”-Mark 1:35
It is obvious that Jesus set this as a priority in his life. Likewise, our communities and friend groups will make time for what we deem as important. Jesus, in the Sermon on the Mount, doesn’t leave room for discussion on whether the nature of communicating with God is essential or not. Prayer was never meant to be a place of frustration. And yet, when it comes to prayer, most of us either see it as boring or lifeless. Think about it: if the God of all wisdom and understanding chose to make prayer his primary means of talking with his people, do you think he would also make it a never ending struggle and source of contempt?
In His last words before He went to the cross, Jesus prayed a prayer that sums up His desire for godly fellowship. In Gethsemane, He prays that the body of Christ would become one: having one purpose and one vision. (John 17:21-26)
Today, much of the funds appropriated to a church body goes towards keep lights on and a building running that stays empty 95% of the time. However, step into your DeLorean and realize that the early church, in fact, did not meet in a paid facility until the 3rd century. However, when Jesus rebuked men in the temple, it was over one important issue: not because these men were in a building, but the manner and condition of their heart in the place of prayer. (Isaiah 56:7, Matthew 21:13) What God meant for perpetual praise ended up becoming man’s center of business and commerce.
Communities must give themselves constantly and consistently to prayer. There should be no end or beginning when it comes to prayer. The command Paul gave to “pray continually” wasn’t just some metaphorical idea. The church was meant to continually be aware of the greatness and splendor of God. And that is the beauty of prayer: we get to come in contact with God and enjoy Him.
Let us be communities that learn to enjoy meeting with God outside of our meetings. Let us ask for Grace to meet with the God who meets us in our weakness.