Lessons From The Early Church: A Person, Not a Form
The first century church has much to teach us followers of Jesus in the twenty-first century, not in the way of copying forms or methods, but as a way of peering into the heart of this movement which is still moving today. One notable lesson for us is that they did not seem as concerned as we do today with the “form” of the church. The idea of church structure seemed to occupy very little brain or heart space. Plans for how the building should look or what the stage should be decorated as bore little weight in the hearts and minds of our fore-fathers and mothers.
Indeed, the One they followed, Christ Jesus, did not leave a blueprint for the church, for the building or the form of her gatherings. I guess the question/statement to be made is, “Why would he? It’s his workmanship, not ours.” He has said, “I will build my Church,” and gave no builders manual, codes, or forms for its development.
So, from he heart of the One who is followed, the first century believers were more concerned with the proclamation of that One person, than the building of an institution or method of “doing” church. As they declared and displayed the person of Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit, things began to take shape, and in many different shapes they formed, from context to context, city to city, culture to culture. As Christ built, they observed, learned, and applied within their particular geographic locale.
The early church took lessons from Jesus, lessons that shaped this unstoppable movement. In a series of posts to come, I will share small lessons from Jesus that I have gleaned from as I observe the gospels and the early church.