In light of this, what can we do? First, I think we should praise the Lord that there are some positive things happening in our church families. These things might include a spirit of love, real sacrifice, attitudes of humility, joyful witnessing, digging into the scriptures, real repentance, biblical discipleship, etc. When these things happen, it is God who deserves the praise. Let us also remember that all these are possible because of what God has done through the gospel of Jesus Christ.
What about the things that are acceptable or need changing? If something is acceptable, it can probably be improved upon (at least a little). If it needs changing, then by definition, it needs to be improved upon. But how do we go about this?
The more I read scripture, the more I believe it benefits the church to reconnect with the early church. As the man in the graphic above is reconnecting a couple of cords, the modern church ought to reconnect with what we see in scripture. We know that scripture is true, inspired, authoritative, and sufficient, so we can trust it to benefit us to follow what we see there.
We reconnect when we look to books such as Acts, I Corinthians, and Ephesians to see what to do and what not to do. We see beliefs, attitudes, and actions in real life situations. We see what is commended and what is rebuked. We also see what is modeled for us. Personally, I'm thrilled that we have I Corinthians because we see a lot of what to do and what not to do. We see a great deal of what the church should be and do, and what it should not.
My suggestion is that every local body take a hard look at itself. In those areas that need improvement, may I recommend reconnecting with what we see in the New Testament? This may be a slow process for churches. It may be arduous. It will not always be pretty. It will definitely take time.
The benefits of doing this will, however, far outweigh the costs. The reason for this is that when we follow what we see in scripture, we know that we are on the right track.
Let us all reconnect with the early church. The more we follow God's model for church life instead of our own, the more we can be assured of being the church God desires.