Let’s take a glance at the early church.

Not the first event in a modern multi-service, multi-site congregation. Not ancient spiritual gatherings in America or England.

Let’s look at descriptions of the church’s beginnings in the book of Acts: 

[1] When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. [2] Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. (Acts 2:1-2 NIV)

[42] They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. [43] Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. [44] All the believers were together and had everything in common. (Acts 2:42-44 NIV)

[32] All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. (Acts 4:32 NIV)

We’ll not, at least here, debate how those early followers of Christ designed or governed church. We’ll not, at least now, study the many narratives through Acts revealing prayer, miracles, persecution, and mission work. We’ll only emphasize this: they were a community, a family, a true fellowship of brethren.

How are we doing with that?

To be more than a gather-together-to-watch-the-performance-once-a-week church, we must intentionally invest time and energy in building and maintaining healthy spiritual relationships. We must give of ourselves for others. We must love, accept, and forgive those who might not always look or think or act just like us. We must grieve together, celebrate together, wait together, eat together, intercede together, give together, laugh together, dream together, learn together, worship together, and sometimes even disagree together—refusing to allow different views on minor points lead to major division in the spiritual family.

How can we can do better? What are a few ways you personally can improve? What might happen if we begin taking more steps in this direction? What has potential to stop us? What could, and should, motivate us to endure? How can we work through deep relational hurts and begin pushing true friendships again?

Think about it today. Think about it this week. And, one more suggestion. Let’s take a moment to pray for ourselves: “God, help me be willing to do my part to live as part of a spiritual family. Amen.”