I’m Jane with e3 Partners Ministry. Welcome to the third blog post in our four-part series titled, “What is church?” Below I will share a few more lessons from the early Church with you. But first, I want to say thank you. We sincerely appreciate your readership & prayers as we share the Gospel and help plant churches all around the globe!
In our previous two blog posts, we examined the book of Acts and identified some of the core practices of the early Church. To recap, members would hear the Gospel, repent & believe, undergo baptism, make disciples, break bread for the Lord’s Supper, and gather regularly. Let’s continue our discussion with two more core practices: leading & teaching others, as well as receiving instruction from the Word.
Leading & Teaching Others
“… Continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it …” – 2 Timothy 3:14
How did the early believers know how to follow Jesus? They were led by faithful, Christian leaders who shepherded and cared for them. And they were taught the commands of Christ! Jesus came to reveal God to His people, including the Apostles. They, in turn, imitated Christ by leading others well, teaching His truths, and modeling their lives after His own.
This core practice still applies to believers today, and we invite you to read our Commands of Christ leadership guide for more details. This brief, one-page PDF is a great resource whether you want to grow in your faith, disciple a new believer, or lead a small group, etc.
Receiving Instruction From God’s Word
“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship …” – Acts 2:42
Reading Acts 2, believers observe that the early Church was comprised of members who were devoted to receiving instruction from the teachers. (The word devoted is defined as being “committed to studying and discussing” something of interest.)
They were incredibly eager to learn about God’s Word, just as we should be today. In fact, Hebrews admonishes us to imitate the lives of our leaders as we obey and submit to them, while Ephesians commands us to submit to our leaders as they submit to Christ (Heb. 13:7; Eph. 5:24).
Applications on The Missions Field
As our missionaries help to establish biblically-sound churches across 90+ countries, they consider the core practices mentioned above; they raise up local leaders who are spiritually qualified to care for the believers in their community and beyond (Heb. 13:17; 1 Tim. 3:1-7). Additionally, our missionaries identify persons of peace who are eager to learn and gather as a church body.
While our teaching methods may vary based on the cultural context, the source of truth is consistently the Word of God. (For example, our missionaries may rely on oral Bible storytelling in areas where large numbers of people are illiterate.) There is much beauty in knowing that, among different cultures, we’re worshiping the same God who is worthy of our praise—the One who ordains the functions of His Church.
With all of this in mind, I encourage you to gather with friends and family in your community to experience these core principles in a small-group setting. Our one-page Commands of Christ leadership guide will help you get started. Thanks again for your readership, and please stay tuned for the final blog post in our “What is church?” series.