What did the church look like when it started? What did the original Christians do when they worshiped and when they gathered? Last Sunday, Pastor Pete preached on Act 1-2 as a part of our CHURCH: Unfinished series. At the end of Acts 2, we see a picture of what the life of the early church looked like. Luke tells us that the first Christians dedicated themselves to the apostles teaching, fellowship, the breaking of bread, and the prayers. He breaks early church life down into four categories. Let’s take a look at each one and what it looks like to do them in our modern context.


Luke says that the early Christians devoted themselves to the apostles teaching. Over the last 3 years, Jesus had spent the huge majority of his time teaching his disciples with a special emphasis on the 12 men who would come to be known as the apostles. The apostles now had the job of not only teaching that to other Christians but to preach this Good News to those who hadn’t yet heard it. The early Christians dedicated themselves to learning from these men. Today, we do the same when we study Scripture. The huge majority of the New Testament was written by apostles. Peter, John, and Paul wrote 20 of the 29 books in the NT. We are taught from Scripture through sermons, podcasts, Bible studies, books, etc. This is how we dedicate ourselves to the apostles’ teachings in a modern context.


Fellowship boils down to spending quality time with other Christians. The Christians in the early church spent a great deal of time together. They ate together, gathered to be taught, gathered to pray, gathered to know one another and do life together. They spent a lot of time in one another’s homes for these purposes. Today, we generally think of fellowship as what we do at church events. Either on Sunday morning or at some other event during the week at the church building. It is fairly common for modern fellowship to be restricted to this. However, fellowship naturally includes hospitality. It includes having others to our homes for a meal or to have our kids play together while we chat. It includes going to the sports events or dance recitals for our friend’s kids. America is a deeply individualistic society but the church is called to deep community. The early church knew this and we can join them in it!

Breaking of Bread

This one included two aspects. The first was literally eating together. As we mentioned in the fellowship section, the early Christians ate together often.  The second is communion. At the Last Supper, Jesus instituted the sacrament of communion and instructed his disciples to continue the practice in remembrance of him. The early Christians gathered to do this. And they often did so in the context of an actual meal. Our celebration of communion looks different now but it is still a vital practice in the life of the church. This Sunday we will be coming to the Lord’s Table. If you have placed your trust in Christ, please join us as we celebrate!

The Prayers

Early Christians knew the importance of regular communication with God. They knew that in order to remain faithful and develop the relationship that Christ offers us, we must talk with our Father. Luke tells us that they did this regularly. In some translations, this is translated as “the prayers”, which would seem to indicate a liturgical tradition being involved. The Jewish faith is full of memorized prayers that have been passed down for millennia. The Christian church has a long and rich history of liturgical prayer, as well. In our modern context we often value spontaneous prayer over liturgical prayer. There are several reasons for this but there is great value in engaging with the prayers and patterns of Christians who came before us. Take some time and hunt up a copy of the Book of Common Prayer or another classic, orthodox prayer text and engage with it. It will be a blessing.

So there we have it! The four things the early church committed itself to and the ways in which we often do the same today. If you are interested in hearing more about this, check out Episode 1 of the CHURCH: Unfinished Podcast with Pastor Dan and me. It’s linked below!

Josh Cervone