What constitutes an ACTS church service?
Church fellowship is primarily formed and defined by how long we tolerate feeling uncomfortable. We hurry in & out in 1 hour to make sure we don’t upset the growling tummies or cater to the attention span of the children (or adults). This is unfortunate. Sometimes the discipline of a church is not done with direct confrontation, but through a process of time.
If you are starting an ACTS church gathering, you are going to run into traditions of men. We all have them, but can they be substantiated in the Word? The Word, when used in the right spirit, should make God’s people ‘uncomfortable’, or rather the things within God’s people become uncomfortable. Religious spirits can mimic or mock, but never replicate what the Holy Spirit is doing in a church service. Religious spirits can make people irritated on the inside. What people in the fellowship do with those irritations is up to them, but it is the role of an elder to help them navigate through them.
We recently had someone on the open mic at Hope confess to the Body that they were listening to, and agreeing with, a spirit that was causing them to be irritated with others that were going on too long and that they needed to sit down & shut up. They didn’t name who they had those thoughts against but simply wanted to confess that so they could enjoy the church services again. What do you think we did as leaders? Ban them from the open mic until they can learn to take their thoughts captive in the privacy of their home? No. We turned to the church body & asked if the Body would release them from the offense. What do you think the Body did? Pick up stones? No (they probably had those same spirits talking to them, but were not bold enough to confess it publicly!) They corporately forgave the individual.
It is uncomfortable to have conflict in church. Either a church is an institution of controlled ideas of perfection, or it is a family that makes rooms for everyone to edify each other. We must have room to grow as a family. There is not one perfect church because there is not one perfect family. Each family has its uncomfortable moments of conflict; who cares! Conflict is something elders of the church run to when it comes, not hide. They can’t wait to see how God is going to fix the problem! They don’t create conflict for the fun of it but confront evil when it is trying to take shape in a fellowship through false doctrine, passivity or whatever.
To the pastor of a church, they must view the things that make their fellowship uncomfortable as a possible tool from God to help bring lasting change to themselves first & then their flock. Astronauts must exercise hours a day just to overcome the ‘passivity’ of weightlessness. How are you bringing strength to the Body? There is so much mainstream teaching in the church that does not hold the Body responsible but expects the leadership to do everything for them. ACTS churches must resist this mentality because it overthrows the instructions in Eph 4:11-13.
And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; - Eph 4:11
For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: - Eph 4:12
Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: - Eph 4:13
So, let the open mic be a secret weapon of perfection for your church fellowship. Implore your people to get over the fear and activate. Re-learn to be a part of a family, with boldness. Let’s be in obedience to the 1st Century Church model that made room for the kingdom to come through many members.