What should a church look like? Using the acronym REAL, I believe Acts 2:42-47 paints for us a picture of how we can engage our congregants to reach their communities and prepare hearts for the sound of the gospel.
Relevant. A church must have social relevance and make a conscious attempt to engage its surrounding community with information to help them achieve a better and more successful life. The church’s message is not just redemption for an individual’s soul, but concern for the whole person. The choice we have as church leaders is to guide the culture to something better through relevant teaching, outreach and events. The early church demonstrated this when “they sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need” (Acts 2:45).
Exciting. “Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles” (Acts 2:43). A sense of awe—think about it. You’ve likely been a part of a church almost your entire life. Have you ever given any thought to it being exciting? But that is God’s idea for the church. When individuals become excited, they tend to influence others by their excitement. This is accomplished by creating a tangible environment that facilitates an excitement for life, where all feel acceptance and support. Being boring or irrelevant has never been God’s plan to reach a lost world, but a gracious and attractive conversation that will give the right response to everyone.
Authentic. An authentic church is genuine, real, trustworthy and reliable in its representation to its community—not false or a copy of something else. Christian leaders have a common goal of bringing hope through full devotion to Christ and His cause. People want to be a part of something that has its anchor in truth. We the church must be the ones who throw out the anchor to our community. We become the image of what loyalty, dependability and respect look like. Our communities have experienced enough of the church just “throwing them a bone” to meet our yearly outreach quota. Our communities are looking for individuals who are willing to walk alongside them and make a difference. I have seen this firsthand as The House of Esther Organization has extended loyalty, dedication and generosity to its community. When the church meets the needs and makes the sacrifices authentically, the community steps up.
Loving. According to Acts 2, the church and its leaders made an impact that spread from house to house within its community, “praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved” (Acts 2:47). Through the church’s loving commitment to serve its community, a transformation of lives, favor and partnerships can be developed. This is a trait among the church and its community that cannot be manufactured.
As the culture surrounding us continues to change, we must not retreat into our four walls and only interact with like-minded Christians, all the while leaving our communities out in the cold to fend for themselves. Let’s be a REAL Acts 2 church and watch our churches and cities grow.
This article was extracted from Issue 4 (Winter 2021) of the AVAIL Journal. Claim your free annual subscription here.
Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from us. Your information will not be shared.