We tend to over complicate things, don't we? Cutting away the complexity of our church structures can be a daunting task, but I am convinced that the Lord has given us a relatively simple form of what a local congregation should be focused on.
This form is found in the expression of the New Testament Church as reflected in Acts 2:42-47:
42And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. 44And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, 47praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved. (ESV)
We recognize in these verses the essentials of the Church. The Church was committed to the Apostolic Word; teaching and following the Way of Christ. They devoted themselves to one another in fellowship (the word 'koinonia' which denotes sharing life) opening their homes to one another. I believe the reference to 'the breaking of bread' is referring to the sharing of the Lord's Table. Prayer encompasses a broader state of worship.
The passage also reflects an incredible spirit of generosity, not forced, but willingly participated in; not 'communism' but a communal life in which each looked out for the others; (In a future post I will share my views on how giving will be handled in the network).
What was the net result of this pattern of life in the early Church? The power of God was evident and people were being born again.
Friends, I don't claim to have it all figured out. What I do desire is to strip out the excess and get back to 'doing church' the way Jesus seems to have intended. I can only wonder how our structures have kept us from realizing God's potential for the Church.