In this video, Derek Thomas describes the relationship between the means of grace and other events or activities that may happen at a church.
What is church about? Well, it’s about reading Scripture, praying Scripture, preaching Scripture, and singing Scripture. Does the church need anything else? I’m tempted to say no. But yes, it does need some other things to flesh that out a little for the life of the church to be full and wholesome, like prayer meetings and midweek gatherings. Christians, I think, particularly in an increasingly secular society, need occasions when they fellowship together. And therefore, there is that description in Acts 2 of the early church, that they continued steadfastly in the Apostles’ doctrine, fellowship, breaking of bread, and the prayers.
So what does the breaking of bread mean in that text? And there are those who suggest that it means the Lord’s Supper. I think it’s more like the fellowship meal that the early church practiced, or we might call it Wednesday night supper. Can a church survive with just that, with just Sunday services, a midweek meeting for fellowship, and prayer meetings? And yes, churches for hundreds of years survived all too well and thrived. Now, is that being realistic for the twenty-first century? I think that if we really, really, really believe in the means of grace—actually what the Bible says—that we really gave ourselves to reading Scripture, preaching Scripture, praying Scripture, singing Scripture, and seeing Scripture in the sacraments, then I think we would have a very healthy, thriving church.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on October 5, 2020.