How can you foster love and unity in your church?
Four strategic practices of the early church were designed by the Apostles to honor Christ, foster love and unity, promote participation, and create a positive witness:
The Lord’s Supper — a Weekly Fellowship Feast
Open Participatory Worship — Unleashing the Laity
Elder Rule & Congregational Consensus — Dance Partners
Small Churches — a Divine Design
Those involved with churches following these practices today testify that they enjoy fellowship during the weekly love feast in a way they have never before experienced.
Deep appreciation has also been expressed for congregational participation during the time of worship, for the many opportunities for each member to minister using his spiritual gifts, for the emphasis on mutual encouragement, and for servant leadership that is not lording over people but builds congregational consensus.
Couple all these benefits with strong biblical teaching and the stage is set for significant growth in the Lord and an extraordinary church experience.
Church Growth the New Testament Way!
- The Lord’s Supper — A Fellowship Feast
The early church celebrated the Lord’s Supper in conjunction with the Love Feast (Agapé). This relaxed fellowship meal with God’s family is a significant means of edifying the Church, building community and cementing ties of love.
- Participatory Worship — Unleashing The Laity
Ordinary believers regularly and significantly contributed to the corporate worship of the first century church. Those prompted by the Spirit were free to offer testimony, share a spiritual experience, give an exhortation, lead out in prayer, testify, sing, give praises, etc. Congregational interest is heightened since the worship service can be contributed to and impacted in a truly meaningful way.
- Elder Rule & Congregational Consensus — Dance Partners
An essential role of first century church leaders was to build congregational consensus. The mind of Christ is more likely found when leaders guide the whole congregation to wrestle corporately with major decisions. Church members are encouraged and fulfilled as they realize that everyone’s thoughts and inputs are respectfully weighed in accordance with the Scriptures. Unity is strengthened.
- Small Churches — A Divine Design
Everything in the New Testament was written to churches that met in someone’s home. The types of relationships taught in the New Testament work best in situations where everyone knows each other. A loving, family-like atmosphere is more easily developed. Church discipline takes on genuine significance. Participatory worship fits smaller settings better and the things shared are much more meaningful. Celebrating the Lord’s Supper as an actual family meal is more natural in a smaller setting. Achieving congregational consensus is easier when everyone knows everyone else and open lines of communication genuinely exist with one another.