Michael Green‘s book ‘Evangelism in the Early Church’ provides a wonderful historical look into the lives of early Christians. Green argues that the early church “sought to interpenetrate society with the Gospel…Christianity for them was no hour’s slot on a Sunday. It affected everything they did and everyone they met.”
Green continues, the church sought to equip people “to move out with the good news”. The early Christians were bands of believers, scattered small groups, who often gathered corporately for worship, and were bound together by a mission. The imagery is like that of an army regiment. Army regiments are military units, designated to certain geographic areas from which to recruit, and fulfill missions.
It is precisely here that the modern church needs to be challenged and regain a sense of mission. Rather than seeing the church as a hospital building, where we come together once a week for treatment, we need to see the church as made of different people (not a building), located in different areas of a city (not a central location), bound together under the Great Commission. While Christians should gather on Sunday’s for corporate worship, real life change happens while people are scattered during the week into units, regiments, for encouragement and accountability. This is where the spiritual battle takes place, outside home base. There is much we could learn from the early church, especially about life outside the larger gatherings of Sunday mornings.
Where are the ‘units’ meeting in homes, coffee shops, and businesses? We as the church need regain focus, work towards intimacy, and build true communities centered around the Gospel of Jesus Christ.