We often say we want our church to be a ‘book of Acts’ church. OK, maybe I’m the only one who says that. Of course we live in a different time and culture than the early church Christians did. I think the point, though, is that I want us to pattern our church after the scripture. I want us to do things because the scripture says to do them, not because of tradition, or denomination, or culture (including American church culture).
One of the things the early church was told to do was bear one another’s burdens. Most of our churches have some kind of prayer list that we write down people’s names with concerns that we have for them. Each Wednesday night we spend time calling out each name on our prayer list. It’s one of the things that drew me here and I’ll be discouraged if we ever stop this practice. But many times we may not know the person the request has been made for and it is difficult to effectually, fervently pray for the person. Similarly, we may not always share our burden because we are unsure what others may think if we reveal too much about ourselves.
It is always encouraging to me to be a part of a body of believers where people feel comfortable to share anything with the church family and can know that they will just be loved and lifted up. I experienced this lately with a young couple at our church. These folks shared some very personal details of their life with the congregation on Sunday morning. Some may have seen this as a little unusual. It is sad to say that in today’s church, it probably is unusual. Maybe even peculiar. To me, this is a sign of a healthy New Testament church. In the early church, they went from house to house daily breaking bread with one another and searching the scriptures together. In other words they knew each other, they were comfortable with each other, they shared the same struggles, they were involved in each other’s lives. It is a huge blessing to me to get a glimpse of this in our own church.
HARPETH BAPTIST CHURCH
1011 Butterworth Road
Kingston Springs, TN 37082