Have you wondered what a New Testament church looked like in the 1st century?
In Acts chapter 2, we get a little glimpse of what New Testament churches looked like. After Peter preached the gospel powerfully on the day of Pentecost, those who gladly received the gospel were baptized and added to the church. The body of believers continued gathering together daily in the temple and from house to house for the purpose of discipleship.
What exactly did they do when they gathered?
They continued steadfastly in the apostolic teaching, they had fellowship, they partook of communion, and they spent time praising God and praying to God together.
Why the two settings?
It is interesting that there are two settings that are mentioned here when it comes to the church and its gatherings. They would gather in the temple—a corporate gathering—and they would also gather from house to house—more of a small group setting. This is the Scriptural basis for why we have two distinct types of gatherings. Though the passage in Acts doesn’t explicitly stress the necessity of these two settings, we believe they are immensely helpful in the discipleship process.
What will these two settings look like at CityLight?
Once the church is established, we will gather corporately on Sunday mornings for the purpose of worshipping our Savior. This setting is more fitting for preaching, teaching, singing together, baptism, and communion. This is a necessary setting, but it is not the best setting for connecting deeply with people, for developing healthy transparency, and for carrying out the nuts and bolts of discipleship. This is why we have LifeGroups!
LifeGroups are small, tight-knit groups that will meet at different times and different locations during the week. Some groups will meet in coffee shops, some in homes, and others at parks. These LifeGroups will have three clear goals:
This venue will help people develop deep gospel-centered relationships with each other. It will provide opportunity for believers to share their thoughts, prayers, struggles, and difficulties as well as receive scriptural encouragement. It will allow our faith to be strengthened as we hear other believers apply the scripture to their lives. This time of connection will involve connecting a Bible study that will further the application of Sunday’s message.
We are all about celebrating Jesus! We will have a testimony time of simply reflecting on and rejoicing in the blessings of God. There is something immensely helpful about hearing others testify of God’s goodness and grace in their lives. Gratitude fuels our commitment to Christ and is an evidence that our faith is maturing. This time of sharing difficulties as well as victories will allow us to “weep with those who weep” and “rejoice with those who rejoice.”
Though in our corporate gathers, we will be teaching and exhorting our people to be missional, LifeGroups will help us administrate our mission to serve one another and reach our city with the gospel. LifeGroups also present a less threating atmosphere for people to visit that would never come to a corporate gathering. Making disciples of all the nations, will take purposeful origination. LifeGroups virtually is the church organized to be and to accomplish the directive of Jesus to making disciples.