Begin by meeting for prayer
This might be no more than a husband and wife team. Through prayer we seek the will and guidance of God in all of life’s ventures. Through prayer and looking into the Word, those who want to be involved will understand the simple truths about New Testament churches like the items mentioned above.
Make the Word of God your handbook
Study it; discuss it; meditate upon it; depend upon it. Reject those spiritual sounding notions that are at work in the world today that the Bible is OK, but we need up to date voices from the Lord. Remember that the Word of God is living (Heb. 4:12), and perfectly relevant to the need of the hour.
Make love and harmony among believers a higher priority than outreach
This may sound wrong, but consider the method used by the Lord Jesus. For 3 years His best time was given to the 12 disciples. When they were of one accord (Acts 1:14) and filled with the Spirit (Acts 2), outreach began in earnest. Outreach flows from unity as the Lord taught us in His prayer (John 17:21,23).
He is listening, He loves to honor His Word, and He will work. Do not entertain pessimistic views about the church being in ruins; that God doesn’t work this or that way in the last days, etc. This sinful attempt to blame the Lord for our lack of faith will in itself ruin any new work for God. Matt. 28:20 is a promise made by the Lord Jesus to be with those who were being obedient to the commission described in verses 18-19 right to the end of the age. A new church is an environment where young believers are trained to “observe all things” that the Lord has commanded.
As the Lord gathers likeminded believers, practice the activities described in Acts 2:42
Note that church meetings are a family time. There will be time enough for the church scattered into the world all week. Protect the few hours for the family to care for its functions. Never place any one of the four items mentioned in Acts 2:42 on a higher plane (that is, of greater value) than any of the others. Each is essential for spiritual health.
If the group feels led to make a transition from informal meetings (e.g. a home Bible study) to a full fledged working church, you can decide together on a target date, place, and time for meetings to begin.
Keep things simple
Every time a “rule” is made, it can later become cement that will harden into the sort of tradition that has spoiled many churches. Flexibility is essential in a fallen world, as things don’t always work out the way we had planned.
Have a ready answer for any who inquire about becoming involved
The only condition for fellowship is to be a child of God. However with regard to service, I generally ask three questions:
- Are you willing to pray for the work?
- Are you willing to attend the meetings as faithfully as possible?
- Are you willing to do those things that the Lord may ask of you?