The vast majority of churches struggle to have a building full of worshipers. Those who do seem to recognize one thing. The church always has been and always will be about making disciples. And we have a clear example of what that looks like from Acts 2: 43-47. Let’s take a look at the five markers of the past and future church:
- Signs and Wonders – So many people live like practical atheists today. We say we believe in God, but we don’t connect life and faith. Our prayer lives are weak. We don’t look for God to show up in our daily encounters. The future of the church resides in a discipleship that sees the interaction of God in the big and small matters of life.
- Share Everything – Our culture wants to believe in Jesus, but still cling to greed. Can’t do that. Note that this is for those who are in the church. There is a clear understanding that no one in our church will have need. If you have a need as a fellow Christian, then it is my need as well. Think of how powerful that could be if we never worried about a crisis calling into question our financial stability. Think how powerful it would be if we each were committed to one another as Christians where if I had two coats and you needed one that I didn’t even hesitate to offer you one of mine. The future of the church resides in a discipleship that creates a profound sense of community where needs of the one are needs of the many.
- Meet Together for Worship – What is this craziness that people want to say you can be a Christian without going to worship? Is it accurate? I suppose. But why do we want to go for the least common denominator of faith? Why do we not yearn for worship as the highlight of our week? Our experience of the presence of God is promised when we meet together. The future of the church resides in a discipleship that sees worship as integral.
- Meet Together for Fellowship – What does it say about my faith if I just want to do my own thing as you do yours? Why would we not want the support of one another in difficult times? Why would we not want to engage in spiritual conversations which give us the best direction for life? Who doesn’t love a great meal shared with friends? The future of the church resides in a discipleship that shows coming together as Christians offers the best celebration of God’s Love you can discover.
- Liked by Everyone as They Praise God – Of course, who would want to hang out with Christians when the perception is that they are judgmental? This is really interesting. Acts 2 says Christians should be people who are likable. Am I likable? When am I not likable? How would others answer these questions about me? The future of the church resides in a discipleship that gives evidence that the Christian life is the best option which gives rise to people who you want to hang out with.
I see this vision for the future church as a journey of discipleship. Jesus really left us with one primary directive. “Go make disciples.” At a time when so many are choosing not to be a part of church, the door is wide open for us to be about the opportunity to pursue a church like that of Acts 2. In a way, we have nothing to lose. So let’s go for it!
That is the current emphasis of The Effective Church Group. Churches seem to be making a delightful shift away from just trying to fill space in a church building to seeing that the journey of discipleship is the essence of the future church.
If you want to be a part of that exciting journey, we would love for you to join us at one of the Radical Disciple Making Conferences. Let’s “meet together” as God brings about His Kingdom!