Terry Virgo has been blogging a series entitled Remember the Poor. He begins by talking about the extraordinary sense of togetherness that was experienced by the early church. I suppose I would characterize it as a sense of “brothers in arms.” There was a missional purpose that was accompanied by a relational togetherness. Sadly, we often miss one or the other of these aspects in our churches, or even both of them. The family of the church is meant to be a family fighting alongside each other in the trenches, not sipping tea together in front of a roaring fire in a cozy house. Here is an extract from Terry’s post:
The birth of the church was associated with an extraordinary splurge of generosity and freedom from possessiveness; being together seemed more important. Their needs became common. If you need it and I’ve got it, I guess you should have it. Amazing!
This has not got much to do with giving 10% to a weekly offering to uphold the minister and his needs and pay for the building not to fall down. This was radical common life. They were in fellowship, which did not mean they shared a cup of coffee after the meeting for a few minutes.
Koinonia is a fascinating Greek word. Among other things, it means partnership. It’s not strictly a religious word, but the church flooded it with fresh life and colour. Before they ever met Jesus, Peter, Andrew, James, and John were in koinonia. They were partners in a fishing firm. They owned it together. If one was in problems with breaking nets, the others would rush to help. This was not a religious response, it was a partnership reality.
That partnership or common ownership lifestyle gripped the early believers.”
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