They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Acts 2.42
The average person in the UK today is further from understanding the true message of Christian faith than at any time in the last 200 years, and from seeing that truth lived out in the community of a church full of grace and truth.
The X-Factor judge, Sharon Osbourne, told The Express “the churches are empty because the services are boring.” Her comment reflects a divide that exists between the perception of church, and the church as originally intended, as expressed in the final verses of Acts 2. Sadly, the perception is often based on the experience of many who have felt either the cold deadness of a liberal and dying institution that has jettisoned the Gospel, or the judgemental gracelessness of an out of touch conservatism.
So what is an Acts 2.42 church? What is it that Jesus Christ came to build, and that is expressed fully in these verses, and to which we are committed to seeing planted and established in Britain today? These churches will be marked by a set of simple commitments…
We want to see churches with a fundamental commitment to Jesus above all else
At the heart of the church is a devotion to Jesus. The call to repentance and faith in Acts 2 is ‘in the name of Jesus Christ!’ (v38). Peter’s presentation was all about Him – ‘God has made this same Jesus both Lord and Christ,’ (v36). New churches must be centred on Jesus:
- founded on Him as the cornerstone;
- following Him as Lord;
- focusing on Him in worship;
- fellowshipping with Him together;
- and calling others to faith in Him in the Gospel.
Our new churches must be committed to simple structures
There were no robes, no distinctions between laity and priesthood, no formality, no pews, no denominational red tape, and overbearing bureaucracy. No, just a simple expression of their shared faith and love together in continuing: • to preach the Gospel, making Jesus known, and inviting others to follow Him;
- to baptise new believers;
- to regularly share bread and wine together as an act of worship and remembrance;
- to read, share and apply the teachings of the Bible together as foundational for doctrine and practice;
- to express their total dependence on God through devotion to prayer.
These churches will be committed to a joyful expression of community life
Miracles took place, as God was present amongst them. They shared freely, meeting the needs of the poor and disadvantaged. They were not just sincere, but glad. This community of God’s people were a joy to be around! Their love was infectious, their hearts were warm, and their homes were open. In summary, this was an open, generous gathering of people, centring their lives on Jesus, transforming their communities, through worship and witness that was demonstrated in both word and action.
At the end of March 2019, the work of church planting many of these kinds of churches will be led by Counties and GLO, two of the CPI partners since its inception. Our desire is to see a growing move, a spiritual wave of God washing across the nations of the UK and Ireland. To see an army of evangelists and pioneers, church planters and leaders committed to this task. We believe in the autonomy of the local church, each church led by a team of called and gifted leaders, and answerable to the Head of the Church, Christ.
However, we don’t believe in independence. Throughout the New Testament, and across generations, local churches have believed in interdependence. Today, this can be best expressed through a network of likeminded workers, churches and leaders committed to love and support one another in the great task to which God has called us!
Will you join us in this effort? Through prayer, partnering financially, or training with us and launching out to plant a church?