As all churches consider what next looks like after the pandemic, they must reflect on what is compelling them forward. By "what," I mean "why."
As an organizational guru, Simon Sinek put it, “Very few organizations can clearly articulate WHY they do WHAT they do. By WHY I mean your purpose, cause, or belief - WHY do you exist? WHY do you get out of bed every morning? And WHY should anyone care, let alone you? Most organizations understand how and what they do each day, but not why.”
Returning to the early church fresh of Jesus’ ascension, Acts' writer gives us a unique glimpse into their daily lives. Of course, we find the church devoting themselves to the teachings of Jesus, praying with one another, and worshiping God together.
However, what makes this passage in Acts 2:42-47 so fascinating was how they viewed the church's role in their lives outside of the churchy stuff, like praying, reading the Scriptures, and worshiping.
The writer tells us that they were sharing meals in each other’s homes, supporting each other’s businesses, responding to each other’s needs, and sharing their possessions and resources to care for those who needed them.
For the early church, their purpose was less of what they did—prayer, worship, study—and more of why they did it. They believed that the invitation was intrinsically fundamental to how they lived their lives by supporting, caring, and nurturing each other and their neighbor through the power of the Holy Spirit and the way of Jesus.
Why is about meaning, significance, and definition. A why must be audacious to the point that people are willing to center their lives around its purpose and meaning, not just for themselves, but its implications for the world.
As we stride forward with spiritual resilience, building upon our authentic relationships, may we turn to the audacious nature of why we exist as a faith community.