ACTS is the Association of Churches. What is an ‘association’? It is the gathering of persons who unite or join together for some special purpose or object. What object is that? Recovering & implementing the integrity and authority of the 1st Century Church.
The book of Acts and Paul’s letters are the pattern for the 1st Century church. The Holy Spirit orchestrated the events of these Scriptures to instruct us of the model that should last for millennia. Very few pockets of Christianity today mirror those 1st century events. Even at Hope of the Generations Church, we are still faithing that we grow into the pattern! We all must start somewhere and there is no better solution for the church than the New Testament model.
The ACTS Association Churches believe that model for assembly is 1st Corinthians 12-14. Specifically, we must look at the order or events of a service found in 1st Cor 14:26.
How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.
It is so important that every member of a church gather be given the opportunity to fulfill this Scripture. Admittedly, it is a risk to allow others to speak during church, but we are confident the benefits FAR outweigh the challenges. There are several purposes to having an open mic style of service. First, everyone attending hears what is in the hearts of their neighbor. Out of the heart, the man/woman speak. This is not a prepared speech, but rather a direct link to what they are listening to God about. Humans cannot read minds, so when we come together it should be a little noisy, and not just from the leadership. Secondly, passivity must be confronted and at times, the leadership at Hope has gone into the congregation at random to ask people to speak something to edify the Body. This is what Shepherds do; they gently feed them with a rod of correction in the other hand. Corporate passivity is so easy succumb to. The ungodly pattern becomes such that only the better orators speak and the silent ones spectate. This is unscriptural and you must resist this pattern without getting frustrated. Passivity is a fox waiting to spoil the purpose & mission of God’s people. Elders must be discerning of this assignment each time the assembly comes together. Fight it with love for the Word and vision that the Spirit of God is wanting to talk to everyone in the fellowship. Thirdly, there must be a safe place for not just truth, but the exposing of error. This is not to say we condone error and evil, but rather help people make room for what needs to be fixed. Children don’t do well very long when there is no explanation of their failures. In the church, if you don’t allow for failure, you have a fellowship driven in performance & perfectionism.
There are many more aspects to the open mic that can be drawn out, which we will save for future posts. Until now, pray & implement about the ones mentioned above into your gatherings and watch what the Lord does through you and those that call your fellowship their home.
These principles of an ACTS church are more caught than taught. It should be the Holy Spirit leading a service, if you allow Him to. No two gatherings are ever the same. He prepares a table in the presence of our enemies of passivity, fear and religion. ACTS elders must set the table in accordance to 1st Cor 14 to have the Spirit of God serve a meal like none other through many members of the Body.