May 19, 2007

Blueprint for the Church

Acts 2:42-47

They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship ... and to prayer. Acts 2:42


In recent years much has been written about so-called "healthy" churches. But what exactly makes a church healthy? Who is to say?

Some think it all depends on leadership. In his book Courageous Leadership, Bill Hybels has said that local church leaders are "the most influential force on planet earth" because they shape the church. Others claim that it all depends on how or where we worship. Still others claim that the key is Christian fellowship or evangelistic witness.

If we want a biblical vision of the healthy church, we need to turn to the Bible's description in the book of Acts. Acts 2:42-47 gives us a close-up look at the healthy church, providing us a blueprint for what the church should be. Church health begins by tapping the power of the Holy Spirit. Acts 2 explains that through the power of the Holy Spirit the new believers "devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer."

If we want our churches to make a difference for Christ, we need the Holy Spirit. We need to rededicate ourselves to the teachings of the Bible, we need to reach out in love to each other and to the community, and we need to devote ourselves to prayer. When we act as the Spirit calls us to, our churches will be healthy.

Father in heaven, we thank you for your church. Help us become what you want us to be, following your Spirit's leading and wisdom in all we do. In Jesus' name, Amen.

About the author — Arthur J. Schoonveld

Rev. Art Schoonveld is a retired minister in the Christian Reformed Church. Before retiring in 2001, he served churches in California, Illinois, and Michigan. Since his retirement he has worked part-time for the denomination and has served as an interim pastor. Art and his wife, Anita, have four children and nine grandchildren.

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