Wednesday, April 27, 2011


The New Testament church did not collect money to be spent on salaries, programs, buildings or itself.

The New Testament church was primarily concerned with making disciples and caring for the poor, the orphan and the widow.

The New Testament church did not elect a separate “clergy class” to perform special religious duties, instead everyone was “in the ministry” by default.

The New Testament church did not attempt to follow an old testament code of worship.

The New Testament church affirmed the priesthood of the believer and allowed every member to share, participate and take an active part in the regular functioning of the church itself- including baptism, sharing communion, preaching the Gospel and making disciples.

The New Testament church did not keep a bank account, instead it gave away all the funds laid at the Apostles feet in order to plant churches and care for those in need- both within and without the church body.

The New Testament church leaders were humble servants who waited on tables, washed feet, served others, laid hands on the sick, encouraged the persecuted and understood that true greatness was found at the feet of men, rather than at the top of the ladder.

The New Testament church did not segregate the body based on age, sex, race, music preference, ethnic background, or any other criteria. Everyone who named the name of Christ, regardless of age, sex or race, was immediately a fully functional and valued member of the Body of Christ.

The New Testament church did not verbally, politically or physically oppose the oppressive Roman government or pagan religions of the day. Instead they simply lived extravagant lives of love among their neighbors and served anyone in their path as Jesus commanded.

The New Testament church was not in favor of violence, nor did it participate in armed conflict, not even in self-defense. Instead, the early followers of Jesus quietly imitated their Lord and gave up their property, submitted to prison and went to their deaths peacefully.

The New Testament church allowed every member, male or female, slave or free, Jew or Gentile, to preach the Gospel, plant churches, teach the Word, and lead worship every single day.

The New Testament church had no one single location where “Church” was located. Worship was not seen as something that happened in a particular location or on a particular day or with the assistance of particular people. Instead, worship was seen as a life continually submitted to Christ as a living sacrifice for the good of others, to the glory of God.

The New Testament church understood the Gospel of the Kingdom to be about God’s Kingdom (rule and reign) being released in the heart of every follower of Jesus, not something that would come one day after the death of the saints or the return of Christ.

The New Testament church did not consider the work of the Holy Spirit to be weird or strange. Instead they accepted the moving of the Holy Spirit within the Body as the natural and continual ministry of Jesus being released in the Body to heal, teach, instruct, correct, rebuke, inspire, encourage and empower the people of God to carry the Gospel of the Kingdom and live a life of love for others.

The New Testament church was always being taught to love one another and to imitate the love of Christ and to humbly serve others as Jesus did. They were not concerned in any way with amassing wealth, getting healed, gaining status in the community, becoming politically powerful, being respected, changing laws, picketing the funerals of homosexuals, speaking out against pagan practices, or selling products with their church name, cross, or scripture verse attached.

The New Testament church did not have a name.

The New Testament church did not brand itself.

The New Testament church did not provide a salary or ongoing stipend to those within the Body who acted as Elders, Teachers, Pastors or Facilitators. The people who performed these functions within the Body did so out of love and were only compensated by the Holy Spirit with joy.

The New Testament church did not have a Bible, or even a copy of the entire Old Testament, yet this Body managed to preserve the teachings of Jesus, the doctrines of the faith, the creeds and Gospel of the Kingdom with only the empowering presence of the Holy Spirit to guide them.

The New Testament church did not market itself or the Gospel. Instead the original followers of Jesus concentrated on loving as Jesus loved, giving and sharing as Jesus did, and concerned itself with the welfare of others in need; both inside and outside the Body.

Anyone else in favor of a return to a more New Testament form of church besides me?


  1. Keith, thank you for presenting how the how the New Testament church is supposed to "function" in a way that the Lord originally ordained. Using the Old Testament references and tying them into the New Testament in showing how God always intended to build His church was great.
    I have a great appreciation for what the Lord is doing in His church and your book is a great tool for those who want know more about the Body of Christ.
    There is definately a voice on the hill declaring the truth and you are one of them.

    Thank you,


  2. Hi Keith!

    PART 1 of 2

    I always love reaching your thoughts and I am someone who couldn’t resonate with you more with the urgent need for Christians to understand they can’t “go to church” but they are the church.

    If it is OK, I would respectfully like to raise up some questions to you, regarding this post here. What am I wondering about, is if in the passion to see people experience “church” biblically we can become literalists in how we then express the church in local contexts.

    What I mean by that, is when you make statements about “the New Testament church did not… “ and then list things, could you then make statements like:

    The New Testament church did not use running water piped in for their kitchens and rest rooms to make disciples. We should then not use running water or pipes in our homes.

    The New Testament church did not spend money on cell phones, computers or internet. So we should then avoid using these mediums of communication to make disciples, and instead give that money we spend on technology all to the poor also.

    The New Testament greeted each other with a holy kiss when they met. If we aren’t literally doing that in our gatherings, then we are not making disciples the way the New Testament church did.

    Now, I am overly exaggerating and joking here – but I wonder if the approach you are taking moves into ecclesiastical literalism? And then we restrict forms and ways of making disciples that may shift through cultures and times and dismiss anything that isn’t “New Testament”.

    I think some of this I understand, as I went through a deconstruction time period of church and felt much like you are writing about here. But then I began wondering if it was really accurate what I was thinking. I was at a church’s Sunday gathering in Sacramento who have thousands as part of the church and paid staff and all the rest – but the Sunday I was there I watched them announce how they raised over $100,000 to help fund a hospital for those in need in a war-torn part of Africa. I think of how many house church offerings would it take to build a hospital and time needed where one single church can then help build almost an entire hospital from one offering on a Sunday. Not that the offering a house church is any less valid, but when masses are rallied towards something like this then the impact is large tangibly in a fast way. Or another church with paid staff who raised money to buy an apartment complex which was then used to house homeless mom’s and their children and they were staffing it with people to help educate and train the mom’s to be able to get jobs and back on their feet.

    Also know a who baptized 200 people on a Sunday and these were mainly younger people who were not Christian and now following Jesus as disciples not just “converts” as they teach and train them in Scripture and that they are the church, not just go to church etc.

  3. PART 2 of 2

    I use these examples as they wouldn’t then fit in your description of what a true New Testament church is, yet God is using them to be making new disciples, helping the poor and needy in massive ways.

    So my heart was melted seeing these things in churches who have paid staffs and buildings and all and I made a shift in my thinking to where God can use all kinds of churches. House churches, organic churches, medium sixed ones, mega-churches, paid staff or non-paid staff. If people are coming to a saving faith in Jesus and we see growth as disciples, and people understanding they are the church, they don’t go to the church and the poor are being helped and justice matters to the Christians of the church – then what a great thing!

    The bigger questions are whether a church is seeing new disciples made, people who weren’t Christians putting faith in Jesus, are their regular baptisms of new believers happening (as you surely see this in the book of Acts). I know there are churches with paid staffs who you don’t see these things happening but there are also house churches where you don’t see new life, multiplication, new believers putting faith in Jesus etc. either. If we take a literalist approach to "The New Testament church didn't..." then we can be like certain Church of Christ churches who refuse to use musical instruments because there was none mentioned in the New Testament that church used. or we should all be greeting each other with holy kisses (literal kisses not just handshakes or hugs) when we meet as churches as that was prescribed by Paul as a practice the church should do when they meet.

    Anyway, would love to hear your thoughts on this – but then, maybe we shouldn’t be using a blog to discuss and share ideas, as the New Testament church did not use it but instead met in person and the Holy Spirit didn’t use computers and technology in the church then so we perhaps shouldn’t today (ha ha…… ☺ )

    Thanks Keith!! Again, I respect your thoughts and heart or I wouldn’t be asking here!