42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
While growing up my family attended one church throughout my entire childhood. In fact, the only other church I ever stepped foot in was another United Methodist Church my grandmother attended in a neighboring town. But throughout my adult life I've been part of numerous churches. I've pastored five different churches, attended five different churches in college and seminary, and attended dozens of churches on Sunday mornings during vacations. I've been around lots of churches. And throughout my years around the Church I've seen it all.
I've seen bad church experiences. I've seen friendship cliques. I've seen weird, annoying people. I've seen quintessentially boring churches. Sometimes I've even been part of creating these types of bad church experiences. Maybe you've had these types of bad church experiences and perhaps, like me, you've also helped create some.
But that's not what God had in mind when God created the Church. God did not create the Church to be an hour Sunday morning service. God did not create the church so that God's servants would spend their entire week gearing up for a one-hour performance. God did create the Church so a pastor can preach for 30 minutes and parishioners sit and quietly listen. God did not create the Church so people can get their itchy ears scratched, or pastors can get their egos fed, or people can gather together but still be disconnected.
God had something totally different in mind when God created the church in Acts 2. Author Scott McKnight characterizes the church in Acts 2 with these words:
Teaching the Faith
Holistic Care for One Another
That's the kind of Church I want to know, to be part of, to give my life for, to lead. I pray First Church is becoming that kind of church. Oh, we have our quirks, like every church. And like every church, we've played our part in creating bad church experiences for some folks. But I think we can take a giant step in our journey this Sunday as we examine our Church.Life. Join us this Sunday at First Church OKC at 10:45 am as we strive to live out this One.Life in our Church.Life.