After the final song was sung the pastor spread his arms wide over the congregation and spoke a blessing. And they were blessed. And so was I.
No one rushed off to Sunday lunch. Instead, they clustered together beneath the steeple, among the pews – four here, two there. A rare sight in my fourteen years of visiting churches across North America: Being together.
No hurry. Like people who took the day off for a family reunion.
One or two crying and hugging, a couple praying, most just talking and laughing easily and loudly. A symphony of conversations. A beautiful buzz.
A.W. Tozer wrote that “one hundred pianos all tuned to the same fork are automatically tuned to each other.” One hundred hearts bent to the Perfect Pitch live in unison. Generously and compellingly.
ACTS 2:42-47 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. (45)They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. (46)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, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
“Devoted.” Proskarteréō in Greek. To be steadfastly attentive to the care of a thing.
If I’m doing the math right – and that’s iffy – I’ve sung and spoken at around 1600 churches now. They’re all devoted to teaching. They’re “steadfastly attentive” to it, studying for it, degreed in it, planning every gathering around it.
But how many of those churches are truly generous? The majority of their people cheerfully voluntarily giving and serving? A dozen?
The number of churches seeing the Lord add to their number daily? Even smaller.
I’m not a theologian or church growth guru. So I wonder…Is Acts 2 saying that somehow our devotion to “teaching and to fellowship” is connected to generosity and the salvation of many? I wonder…
I wonder what would change if we were – if I was – as devoted to fellowship as we are to teaching.
“Fellowship.” Koinōnía. Intimacy. Communion.
Thank you, Grace Presbyterian Church in Alexandria, Louisiana for letting me worship with you on Sunday, for giving generously to Compassion’s children, and for making me want what you have together. Your pitch is perfect.