“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 favour of all the people…” (Acts 2: 46)
There was a sharing as they met together – conversation, worship, prayer, communion, meals, meeting one another’s needs. There was a genuine positive spirit as they met together – they were authentic and real, yet sought to be positive, encouraging, engaging, seeking out the good.
There was a desire to meet together – if there wasn’t they wouldn’t have met! Whatever our motive for coming to Church, in our own “temple court”, it’s so much better and easier if there is a desire to be together. While there are always genuine reasons for absence, without the desire we find it easier to make excuses, and we can be very clever at justifying these.
There was a commitment to meet together – Every day! This is not a prescription for us but it does outline their commitment to one another, and also what they saw as one of their top priorities. “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another” (Heb 10: 25).
They met daily – didn’t they work?! The whole Church could not possibly have been there all the time. So let’s imagine what that might have looked like… Maybe their central meeting place was simply open all through the day and people from the Church came and went as they were able…? Imagine that being the case in our potential new building? Picture it in your mind and allow yourself to be taken on a journey of what could be… imagine…
…. Someone comes to the Church at 5am to open up because there’s an early morning prayer meeting going on that’s been growing for weeks. Early risers from the community don’t understand it. From 7am onwards several come in for breakfast, have a quick chat, share their day’s prayer needs and go on to work. Someone’s in the kitchen preparing communion for later. Just after 9am some flustered parents arrive for coffee and to offload their various children orientated frustrations. Several share an idea of starting a parenting course and wonder what the local health visitor might think? The smell of fresh coffee seeps out into the streets. Good news begins to spread. Various community groups use the building through the day, it’s rare to find a room that’s not in use.
About 11 O’clock some of the older members meet up for a group they’ve started running, today they’re considering how to reach those who can’t get out of their homes. 12 till 2 people working close by pop in to have their lunch at the Church and catch up with others who are there. They look through into one of the halls to see the parent and toddler group in full swing and hear the older members finish their group with a final hymn of praise. One member arrives to hoover the coffee lounge, another to change the posters and another turns up to give a lick of paint to one of the upstairs rooms.
At 2pm there’s an advice clinic for those with money concerns. As one lady leaves she comments to someone from the Church at the Reception desk that there’s something so good she feels about the place and the people whenever she comes. Smiles are exchanged. She picks up a leaflet about the Church on her way out. “You know, I might just see you Sunday!” From 3pm kids turn up in their uniforms, munching gummies and swigging from coke cans, some to be met by their parents, others to do homework in a side room with pop videos on in the background to ‘help them concentrate’, then from 4pm till 6pm there’s an after school club taking place.
At 6pm there’s a mixture of parents, kids and people popping in on their way home from work. Stories are shared of what God has done that day, one person saying that someone from where he works, who the Church had been praying for, has been healed. Everyone remembers the theme we had as a Church, that “Just one touch from the King… changes everything.” He wants to talk about how he could pray to God and whether there are any special words you have to use. There’s several prayer requests listed on the notice board for the intercessory prayer team to pick up at 7pm. A couple Trustees arrive to prepare for a meeting they have with members on the Council on plans for the Church to be able to extend because there’s not enough room – again! This meeting has been the Council’s initiative… “we need more of what you are doing, it’s making such a difference to the Town” they say.
Soon after there’s more hubbub in the kitchen as food is prepared for an ‘Alpha’ course running that evening, then the Youth Pastor’s rushing around like a mad thing getting things organised for the youth group due to start at 8 O’Clock. He’s expecting about 60 young people tonight. Noise increases as teenagers descend upon the Church. There’s a mixture of laughter and music from one end of the Church and intense discussion the other end in ‘Alpha’. Other members arrive to clear up the kitchen or help with the youth or to pray.
At 10pm one young person is being consoled by someone in a corner, elsewhere a young couple are continuing their conversation, feeling that they should no longer live together but be married. Other members arrive, one starts cleaning, another goes upstairs to photocopy some study notes for their ‘LIFE Group’ tomorrow, another pops in as they’ve just finished their shift at work and they see the chairs need to be sorted. Others see and lend a hand. There’s an evident oneness as each person plays their part. No superstars, just a team. There’s a cheer from somewhere as news breaks out that the young person being consoled has just become a Christian. This is shared with several others as they arrive to prepare soup to take out on the streets at midnight. As they venture out in the cold a couple of guys stay behind as a man has turned up badly beaten up.
He knew the church would be open and had hoped that someone might be there to help him They were. By 1am he’s on his way, just as those on the soup run return. Tired but satisfied, the day’s events are committed to God. Those there pray for one another, they share bread and wine, closing with a rousing chorus of `To God be the Glory’. The doors are closed. Silence.
Just 4 hours to go before someone arrives to unlock the Church for another day of opportunity. What a Church!
Listen, `Dorchester Community Church’, I have a dream … Where one day we will be that Church! Will you join me on that journey ….? Let us pray in faith to this end…