As the church grew and began to spread, the Scriptures record in Acts 2 the ways in which growth was happening. In Acts 2:42 – 48, we find these words – “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by all the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” Acts 2:42 – 48 NIV
Though we do not believe this passage is meant to be prescriptive (an exact outline of what every church should do) we do believe it contains very important principles of what a gathered group of followers of Christ should include.
First, the body is to gather together in a large group setting for teaching (Acts 2:42 – 46a). Second, the body should be gathering in smaller groups to experience community, grow deeper in faith, and share the responsibility of meeting each other’s needs, emotionally, physically, and mentally, for the distinct purpose of providing each member the best possible opportunity to live out their faith (Acts 2:46b – 47a). Finally, each member of the body is to live out their faith in the world they walk in every day, allowing non-believers to see God at work in the actions and words of the believer (Acts 2:47b). These three principles also create three distinct yet connected venues that each believer should be a part of, and can also be expressed in a drawing of three circles.