My introduction to Lancaster Community Church came via Tiffany Fulk (who is now LCC’s Assistant Director of Children’s Ministry). At the time, I had just been hired at Praises Christian Bookstore where she was the manager. She talked about God and her church in a way that, despite growing up in church, made me want to experience what she was experiencing. She would get so excited about going to church and would talk about how much she was looking forward to Sunday mornings. I, on the other hand, dreaded Sunday mornings. I imagined what it would feel like to anticipate going to church. Tiffany even served on an evening children’s ministry team. And she loved every minute of it! Well, if you’ve ever met Tiffany, you know she has a very contagious personality, and her zeal for God rubbed off on me. God used her to reignite something I had let time and pain take away from me.
Tiffany was also a part of a connect group, and she talked about how much the people in her group meant to her. Like most of us, she didn’t grow up an ideal home, but talked about how much her connect group (and others at the church) had become like family to her. She found so much support, love, and friendship in these fellow believers. I don’t think of myself as an extremely private person, but I couldn’t fathom what she was talking about.
You can’t help but wonder if that is what the early church was like, if they viewed each other like family. When members of the military serve together in battle and in times of war, they form a unique bond. In a similar way (but of course not nearly on the same scale), first responders serve in traumatic times and often practically live with their co-workers. Working together, pushing toward a common goal despite the cost, can cause those around you to become like family. The early church faced the persecution of the Roman Empire, and I’m sure that bonded them together in a way that we, as Americans, can’t really understand. But I think we could soon. Our nation is changing, and rather than throwing our hands up or screaming at the TV, we the Church need a perspective change. This is not our home. We need to join hands and realize we are the missionaries God has commissioned to go a lost and dying world. We need to start thinking of ourselves as the minority rather than the majority. The early Church was the minority and it didn’t stop them. It bound them together. Bound them together like family.
“And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.”