Hello! I’m Jane with e3 Partners Ministry and welcome to the first blog post in our four-part series, titled “What is church?”
Before we get started, I want to say thank you for your readership and prayers regarding the vision of e3 Partners—to see a church accessible to everyone, everywhere! We help equip believers all over the world to share the Gospel, make disciples, and gather believers into newly formed churches. What a blessing it is to count our blog readers as friends of the ministry.
Because e3 plants churches among different people groups and cultures, it begs the question: “What really is church?” Those of us in North America often think of church as a physical building with a sanctuary. So it’s natural to wonder, “Is it still church if God’s people don’t have a building but meet in a hut instead? Is it still church if there are many small gatherings instead of a large one?”
In the developing world where resources are limited, church often takes place in private homes or humble dwellings. And in countries that are closed to the Gospel, church gatherings may look different from week to week, sometimes occurring on the Internet through platforms like Zoom.
With all of this in mind, we’ll be looking at the Bible in this four-part series and considering the different functions of the early Church—to help us better define the core practices of the local church, regardless of our culture and surroundings.
Reading Acts 2:36-41, believers will observe the beginnings of the formation of the first Church. The context of the passage starts with the proclamation of Christ as the long-awaited Messiah who was put to death and then raised to life by the Spirit to sit at the right hand of God. Many are “cut to the heart” at the realization of their sin and then exhorted to repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of their sins and the promised presence of the Holy Spirit. Incredibly, three thousand souls were added to the family of Christ that day!
From this passage and others, we see a few core practices of the biblical Church; It is formed from God’s people who:
- hear the Gospel
- repent and believe
- are baptized, and
- obey the Great Commission to “go and make disciples …” (Matt. 28:18-20, 2 Tim. 2:2)
Your readership and prayers are certainly an encouragement as we raise up new churches that reflect this biblical model—all so we can see multiplying movements of new believers who are putting their faith in Christ and then leading others to follow suit. So once again, thank you.
Please stay tuned for the next blog post in this series; until then, I invite you to browse some of our video resources that will help you share God’s story with a family member, friend, or loved one.