Building a 24 X 7 Community
It is difficult to separate the faithful growth of a community from evangelism, the sharing of faith. Driven by our believe in Christ is the one and only way to reach God, we are logically led to the natural desire of wanting to see our communities share that belief with us. How then, do we balance the call to share the Gospel with our human desire to grow fellowship, in other words, increase or numbers? Is it just a numbers game?
In Acts 6, Luke tells us that the early Church was in creasing in numbers daily. Churches then were based on towns, communities. In a short time, their numbers grew from 3,000 (Acts 2:41) to 5,000 (Acts 4:4). That early community of Christians continued to increase (Acts 6:1) and increase (Acts 6:7). One can draw some comfort from this early Church that counting heads is OK. However, we must never assume that growth was their goal. Growth was a result of some very fundamental steps taken by that early Church.
For some real insight, we can look to those early saints. Acts 5:41-42 eloquently tells us how: “The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because that had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ.”
Early Christians were willing to pay any price to serve Christ and lived their faith daily. A closer look at Acts 5:41-42 tells us how they did it: (1) daily Christian service; (2) service in God’s house; (3) service from house to house; (4) work for every one; (5) working continuously; (6) teaching and preaching the Word; and (7) exalting Jesus Christ.
Growth of the Christian community does not happen through the eloquence one person but through the work (24 X 7) of its believers. As a united body of Christians, amazing things can be accomplished for God’s kingdom. Just look at what 12 committed disciples did for God!
The call and oath of every Christian is to be faithful stewards of God’s Word and His Kingdom. Each person needs spiritual seeds daily to keep the harvest bountiful. These seeds are for our own nourishment as well as for others. Paul tells us we should plant them so that we gain even more at harvest.
Pray daily: for your country, for your leaders, for your family and for yourself.
Boldly share your faith walk with others.
Get to know your neighbors and be generous with your faith.
Remember, service to God is 24 X 7, all week long, not just on Sundays.
Be willing to step out in faith and leave the results to God.
The Power of Prayer & Planting the Seeds of Faith
We need to go no further than our Bible to find our TIPS for this issue. Acts 6:4 states, “…. and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the Word.” Yes, pray alone, pray together for the Christian community. Then step out and sow your faith among its diverse population. 2 Corinthians 9:10-11 states, “Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us you generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.”
A call to prayer, a commitment to the Word of God, and service to our communities are the secrets to joy and peace on earth. No where in the Holy Scriptures will you find advice to water down the Gospel’s message, to humanize Christ or use faith as entertainment. The Gospel’s message is quite to the point: You have only two choices, eternity with the Creator or eternity without.
Your tip, therefore, is to pray daily for all the faithful, to be visible in your faith and to boldly proclaim Christ’s message of hope and peace.