“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 2:42-47]
The Gift of Community
Church is often thought to be a building with walls, an altar, a preacher, and pews. While church can be all of these things, Jesus really intended for church to simply be a body of believers. This passage in Acts emphasizes the need for believers to gather together in community. After a radical life transformation, the apostle Peter spoke to the thousands of new Christians who were just baptized in the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.
Peter encouraged the new believers to devote themselves to fellowship with other believers. To devote oneself to something means to put all of your energy, time, and resources to it. Jesus’ intention for the church was for His people to be together, learning from each other and sharing testimonies, both big and small.
Peter encouraged them to pray. God loves to hear the prayers of His people. If you want to get technical, the Latin word for community is “communis,” which means common. When people with common beliefs gather, they share God’s heart. Prayer from a place of unity is so pleasing to God.
Peter encouraged the body of believers to give to those who were in need. The scripture says that they “sold property and possessions” in order to give. Communities look out for the interests of each other and provide for each other.
He encouraged the church to eat together with glad and sincere hearts, and to praise God. At the time, this community consisted of Jewish people who now had faith in Jesus, so there was some friction between them and the Jews who did not believe that Jesus was the Messiah. Peter pushed the gathering of these people because he recognized that it was not always easy to be a believer amongst the non-believers. With glad and sincere hearts, the community could praise God together, supporting each other and receiving the love of Christ as a body.
So What Now?
Embrace the community that God is offering you. Seek out those who have not found their body of believers. Help them find their people. Be their people. Set aside time each week to gather together with people who share your common beliefs and delight in that time.
Jesus is actually inviting us to “break bread together,” so host a dinner and enjoy a meal with your friends. Gather in your dorm or your living room and pray. Think of ways you can bless both the people you know well and those you don’t know so well. And then praise God for giving you people to do life with.
God loves friendships. He wants you to have your people and for you to love people together. Make it a goal for you to say, “and the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”
Lord, thank you for your heart for community. Thank you for lovingly placing people in my life who I can call my brothers and sisters in Christ. Give me your vision for how to pursue community well, and the grace to be intentional with that community. Increase my trust in You. Love You. Amen.