On Tuesday night, the Central Church Board and some of the pastors joined Karla and me for a cookout at our house. (I say some of the pastors because some were out of town or had other commitments). I grilled chicken, pork, beef and hot dogs (who knows what’s in the dogs… I’d like to think it was only chicken, beef or pork). Everyone brought a dish to pass. The potluck proved to be lucky as every pot (or dish) was yummy. The conversations were even better. The rain held off for most of the night and all was good. (Tangent Alert: Let me take this space to say we have a great church board! They love Jesus and Central Church. They are leaders you can be proud of and it is a pleasure to serve alongside of them. The pastors are awesome too!).
Tonight, it’s Cookout Part II, as our home group is coming over. It’s the same drill as Tuesday only no beef (except for what may or may not be in the hotdogs). We will eat, talk, pray for one another and look a bit into God’s Word. Many times, my home group helps hash out my thoughts for the upcoming sermon. (Let’s pray they help me tonight… or we could all be in trouble Sunday morning). I love our group—they are a huge blessing!
Christians have been doing this sort of thing since before we were called Christians. In Acts 2, Luke writes about those early believers: They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer (Acts 2:42).
Back in the NO NO Days (no movies and no dancing), we used to say that the only thing Nazarenes could do was have pot-lucks. We’d say in jest that we needed to replace the dove on our logo with a covered dish as it was the best symbol of the denomination. While we were mostly joking, I think something important was happening in those church potlucks.
When folks gather in Jesus’ name for the simple purpose of eating, fellowshipping, praying and Bible study, the Lord is present. When Jesus is near, we grow together. We learn from one another. We cry with one another’s sorrows and rejoice in our victories. It’s not complicated. It’s the church at its best. It’s also not shocking that Luke further wrote: And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved (Acts 2:47). When the church is at its best, the world notices and wants to be a part of what God is doing!
Bottom Line: If you want to grow in the Lord, then do what the early believers did. Get with a group in Jesus name and eat, fellowship, pray and get into the Word. You’ll be amazed at what God will do!