Sunday, February 13, 2011

The First Megachurch?

Acts 2:46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts,

46 καθ᾽ ἡμέραν τε προσκαρτεροῦντες ὁμοθυμαδὸν ἐν τῷ ἱερῷ, κλῶντές τε κατ᾽ οἶκον ἄρτον, μετελάμβανον τροφῆς ἐν ἀγαλλιάσει καὶ ἀφελότητι καρδίας

Just a few verses before we saw that three thousand people were saved on Pentecost. I've heard some jokingly say that it was the first megachurch. After all, they suddenly had 3000 Christians gathered together. It seems plausible enough.

However, this verse turns that idea on its head, not to mention the testimony of the rest of the New Testament. Although there were 3000 new converts they did not gather together as 3000. The temple was big, but it certainly was not that big. What we see here is that they did indeed meet together, but most of the ministry was done at home. They had smaller pockets where they broke bread.

I am not about to go all Frank Viola on this. However, I do think that the consistent model of Acts is to have smaller churches. Some may say that it was only because they were poor, marginalized, and did not have any way to build Six Flags Over Jesus as so many folks enjoy each weekend. I would say that it was because smaller bodies were the only way for them to truly serve each other.

This is why I'm both excited and terrified about our church plant. I'm excited because I think that we're moving toward the New Testament model of the church. I'm terrified because there is nowhere to hide. It's not that I necessarily have anything to hide, but there is a certain comfort in having an out, as it were. I suspect I'm not the only megachurch attendee who feels that way. However, that is American Churchianity talking and not Christianity.

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