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Vibrant vs Growing

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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, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
- Acts 2:46-47

Take a look at that last sentence: “And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”

This week we’ve been looking at rhythms of life of the early Christian community. They gathered in the temple and scattered to each other’s homes. They learned and worshipped and fellowshipped. And they had an influence on the people around them.

Today’s passage records two responses that the broader community had to the gathered and scattered Christians. First, “all the people” looked favorably upon the followers of Jesus. What a far cry from the crowds who yelled “Crucify him!” Second, we see that people from the broader community were saved and added to the Christian community.

Vibrant inward community in this case spilled over into favor, growth and transformation. When Christians gathered and scattered, the people around them were blessed.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that a Christian community can’t be both deeply intimate and rapidly growing. Both intimacy in Christian community and the growth of the Christian community happen as a result of God’s good and generous work. Neither would happen without God’s intervention and both truly are possible.

How have you seen the broader community respond to healthy Christian community? What role did healthy Christian community play in your own faith-journey? What disciplines or practices do you think would be helpful for us to be a church that has both deep relationships and openness to growth?

1 Comment

I think small groups are paramount if intimacy is to be preserved! "They broke bread in their homes and ate together..."--that was small group. Meet-ups, dinner groups, other interest groups, gender-specific groups, working groups (Chatham Serves, etc.); these invite intimacy when the group, as a whole, begins to grow beyond the walls of familiarity with everyone. Thanks for keeping these going, and let's make sure new folks "catch the bug!"

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