Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.
I confess, I’ve had a bad attitude towards gatherings of various kinds for more reasons than Covid.
Considering my confession, would you believe that I owned a B&B, hosted more than 22 weddings in our event barn, and fed more than 3,000 people through catering and Taco Thursdays in one year? I did.
And I burned out, the last of any Christian tolerance fizzling like tiny sparks into the dark night. Matrimonial ceremonies with their masses of partying young adults wore me out physically and spiritually. After a couple of exceptionally hard nights—a drunk bridesmaid locked in a bathroom stall for hours, a tight-dressed gal pole dancing on one of our barn’s cedar beams, a groomsman vomiting in my flower bed, and a bride passed out, head down in the middle of her glorious and holy wedding table—I became disgusted with humanity.
My brother had lovingly hung a nine-foot rugged cross on the south wall of that wedding barn. I remember one night in pure frustration with the drunken mob, tears pooling, I stood beneath that cross apologizing to the Lord that we humans had obliterated the holiness of matrimony—the picture of Christ and His bride. My heart plummeted and I had a hard time pulling it back into place.
These incidents are not necessarily why I left the hospitality business—the Lord opened a door for me to return to ministry. But these discouraging episodes certainly made it easier to walk away from the business I’d worked so very hard to build.
But God, But Now
In the last four years I have served as manager of a communications team with a worldwide ministry. In this service, our team of communicators and marketers have overseen events and these gatherings have been the opposite of the weddings I left behind. Coming together for inspiration, at the ministry events, we hear from speakers who work in the fields of harvest. Brave men and women who have taken the narrow path report to us that the Lord is at work in the world, even when spiritual conditions around us look bleak. We worship together, pray together, and break bread together, testifying of God’s goodness and plans. At a recent event, we watched a documentary featuring a people group out of Zambia who have experienced miraculous transformation after receiving God’s Word in the language and audible format that speaks to their culture. We cried jubilant tears, rejoiced with laughter, and celebrated what our Father is doing through us—His children—here on earth.
From a perch of observation at a back table, I heard how the Potter’s hands mold individual for vessels of glory. I watched the people love each other. I ate with friends. I took in nourishment for my soul.
And I remembered Acts 2:46-47.
This is church, I whispered.
Church is not about the steepled building on the corner or the meeting space in a hip downtown theater. Church is not about the excellent speaker or teacher or skinny-jeaned pastor. Church is not a nine-to-five business, conveniently opened on Sundays.
Church is so much more than any of these things.
Church, I’ve come to believe, is about gathering as family—anytime, anyplace. Yes, family gatherings can be dysfunctional and messy. Who hasn’t had a wild holiday experience when uncle Bob showed up drunk or cousin Eddie arrived in his broken-down RV? But because the blood we share belongs to Christ, we gather. We commune as one body despite the messiness of it all.
Perhaps the messy part has been the spiritual enemy’s attempt to keep us apart.
Or in straight-back pews facing forward instead of facing each other.
In the Scripture at the top of the page, we’re told that when we’re together with one mind, praising and breaking bread together (gathered around a table), Christ adds to our numbers.
Which is the point.
From the garden of Eden to the command to go into every nation and disciple, our purpose has been to add to our family numbers and glorify the Lord. When we bring Him glory, He grants us the fruit of our labors—new believers.
So I’m getting back to the basics of church—gathering with others and praising God.
Will you join me? On October 9th, 2022, at Milagro Farms in Forreston, Texas at the very place where I stood beneath that cross and cried, an army of women will gather and glorify the Lord. How ironic! How so like our Savior!
We will hear testimony, teachings, break bread together and pray. We will demonstrate to the powers of darkness that we, no matter the costs, will always come together in holy celebration.
Are you in?
Let’s not allow the enemy keep apart what God has joined together. Come and share fellowship with your sisters in Christ.