The Primary Activity of the Early Church

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Have you ever thought about the frequent "one another" commands in the Bible? Ever counted them? I haven't either...but a quick Google search of "how many one anothers in the bible" pulls up 41,200 results.

I'm sure there were earlier trustworthy references in the Google results. Carl George listed 59 in Prepare Your Church for the Future. You can download his list right here.

I've been thinking about this a lot after hearing Andy Stanley make two attention-grabbing comments in a talk at the re:group conference.

Here's his first comment:

The primary activity of the early church was one-anothering one another —Andy Stanley

The primary activity of the early church was one-anothering one another. —Andy Stanley Click To Tweet

Just think about that for a minute.

Really let it soak in.

Now ask yourself this: How much one-anothering is going on in your church? Is it the primary activity in your church?

Here's his second comment:

When everyone is sitting in can't do any one anothers —Andy Stanley

When everyone is sitting in can't do any one anothers —Andy Stanley Click To Tweet

Now ask yourself these questions:

Are enough people sitting in circles to make the primary activity of the early church happen in your church?

How will the people who only sit in rows enter the give and take of one-anothering one another?

What will have to be true for more people in your church to have the benefit of one-anothering one another?

Andy's comment ought to help all of us make decisions about how to help more people in rows make the transition to circles (where they can experience the essential ingredients of life-change).

See also, Essential Ingredients for Life-Change.

What do you think? Have a question? Want to argue? You can click here to jump into the conversation.

Image by Moyan Brenn

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  1. Jag on November 14, 2013 at 11:45 am

    I suppose our small groups most closely resemble what the early church was like and their main purpose is to ” one another”. So, I think if churches are incorporating this they are doing pretty well. The practicality of doing it in a church service (such as not sitting in rows) makes things challenging. I think people who visit churches might be intimidated by an atmosphere of instant intimacy, although I think breaking up in groups and praying for each other during the service on some kind of a regular basis would be a good idea.

  2. markchowell on November 14, 2013 at 1:28 pm

    Thanks for jumping in here, Jag. I can see how you might take from my post that one-anothering was all the early church did…but that wouldn’t be accurate. They gathered in the Temple courts and from house to house. When they were in the Temple courts, they may have had time to one-another one another, but that wasn’t the purpose. They were taught the scriptures, they sang psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, they prayed, etc. Andy’s comments are based on the idea that if you’re ONLY sitting in rows (the experience of many), there can’t be much one-anothering going on.

    Make sense?

    Thanks again for jumping in here!