If you asked most church leaders what is the ideal picture of the church, they would probably point you to the second chapter of Acts. It is a description of the most ancient Christian church whose witness to truth endures. In an age where many people do and behave as they wish, it is comforting to be tied to the teachings of those who witnessed and learned from the Lord Jesus Christ. While the apostles were largely simple people, not learned or notably scholarly, their wisdom was divinely inspired and rooted in the incarnate testimony.
Despite the rising hostility to the faith within our own culture, theologian Thomas C. Oden reminds us, "Christianity has seen too many 'modern eras' to be cowed by this one." Even as the culture around us erodes there will be a hunger for wisdom and knowledge. The brokenness of the world longs for it.
For the faithful churches and the people that gather there, it's essential to be grounded in the transforming power of prayer. It's probably safe to say that many churches lack lively prayer ministries and take advantage of corporate prayer. This hinders spiritual vitality, unity, and the entire ministry of the church.
If we simply look around us we can see that our world is in desperate need of prayer first and foremost. If this is something that is lacking in our houses of worship, it gives us a good opportunity to step up and set an example. It is perplexing when professing Christians make excuses when drifting away from corporate worship, because fellowship among believers is really just a picture or rehearsal of not only what we were created for, but what we will be doing for eternity. We are made for worship and relationship with the Triune God.
In the earliest Christian church, many were rapidly being brought to Christ. It was so because the leaders and assembled operated together with the power of the Spirit. Too often, because we have compartmentalized so much of our lives, we attend church as though we are an individual churchgoer or only an observer of the service. We owe our whole lives to the truth of God's Word for us. A Word made man that was broken and shattered for our own sake and our future destiny.
After Peter's sermon in Acts 2, the text above says the believers were "devoted" to wise instruction and guidance. Why were they so devoted? They had supreme confidence in the power of Jesus Christ to transform their life and carry them into the next.