Soon after Jesus left them, the model that He ingrained in them was put to the test. In Acts 2, we see an amazing response to the Gospel message:
“So those who accepted his message were baptized, and that day about three thousand people were added to them. 42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and signs were being performed through the apostles. 44 Now all the believers were together and held all things in common. 45 They sold their possessions and property and distributed the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 Every day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the temple, and broke bread from house to house. They ate their food with joyful and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. Every day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.” Acts, 2:41-47 (CSB)
As Peter boldly proclaimed the Gospel while being filled with the power of the Holy Spirit, God allowed over 3,000 people to respond and be added to the newly launched church in Jerusalem. Let that sink in—3,000 new believers after one sermon. Talk about an assimilation problem! So what did the apostles and followers of Jesus do with all these new believers? They baptized them and invited them to be part of their Christian community. Jesus’ disciples embraced the new converts and began teaching them how to follow and obey Jesus.
This first-century church moved people from the crowd by intentionally forming communities that devoted themselves to the Apostles’ teaching, to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Their devotion to this specific set of values was remarkable, and it helped create one of the fastest recorded explosions of the church in history. It also did something else: It fostered an atmosphere of mutual care, unity and a missional mindset that would soon spread all over the world. The early church moved people from the crowd into community.
In summary, healthy biblical community focuses on spiritual transformation that leads to multiplication. Churches should disciple their new believers in the context of community in order to deploy them as disciple-makers to the nations.
Don’t settle for the occasional spikes in attendance; strive to create a multiplying movement of disciples that has the power to change the world for the glory of God!
This article originally appeared here.