As our 3/3rds Groups continue to develop and become more mature, we should consider how these could become churches. Throughout the New Testament, the church is the mechanism through which the Body of Christ continued to gather and mature.
We can see several important aspects of a church when we study the Bible. This lesson will only cover the first steps, the basics, in developing a healthy church.
Let’s start by reading about the first church that was formed in Jerusalem. On the day of Pentacost, after being filled by the Holy Spirit, Peter was preaching to the crowd, and from the coming of the Holy Spirit and Peter’s preaching, we see the first church formed:
“Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.”
When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”
Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off —for all whom the Lord our God will call.”
With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 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 2:36-47
Question: What are the things that we can see that this first church did in Jerusalem?
We can see the following things that happened in the church:
Question: What implications does this story have for us as we start new groups and help them become new churches?
There are important things that we can see practiced in the Bible related to what the church does. There are also other things that the church might do that aren’t necessarily important, that we might consider to be optional.
An example of this could be having a sound system and a band. Do you need to have these to praise and worship God as a church? No, of course not. These were not part of the original church, so why would they be required today?
But is it wrong to have a sound system and a band? No, not necessarily. We should only be careful about what we believe that we need to lead a church, and for that matter, what we are teaching other people, either in word or deed, that they will need if they are to one day start a new group that will become a church.
One way to visualize the scripture study above is to use the Church Circle. Take out a piece of paper and follow along with this video to learn how to describe a Healthy Church and teach it in a visual way:
In addition, we recommend using these study guides for church development with your new churches:
Facilitating Healthy Church – The Left Hand Guide – We can use this handy guide to understand how to launch a church, helping the church understand their identity and function.
Facilitating Healthy Church Identity – This study is designed as a first step to understanding who God has created the church to be.
Facilitating Healthy Church Leadership – This second guide explains the functions of the leadership of a church as it develops and matures.