Most people would describe a building or give a denomination when asked about their church; however, this is not consistent with the teaching of the Bible. The Biblical definition of the word church is a group of believers. The following verses describe the first church.

Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.
(Acts 2:41)

However, many of those who heard the word believed; and the number of the men came to be about five thousand. (Acts 4:4)

And all the more believers in the Lord, multitudes of men and women, were constantly added to their number, (Acts 5:14)

So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria enjoyed peace, being built up; and going on in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it continued to increase. (Acts 9:31)

The church described in Acts is the first New Testament church formed after Jesus ascended into heaven. The word church is used to describe the fellowship of believers; there is no mention of denomination or building. The first church actually met in homes, shared their things and ate together.

And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common; and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need. Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.
(Acts 2:44-47)

These verses describe in detail the workings of the first church; however, most people are not comfortable with this description. The Biblical concept of a church is like the worldly concept of a family, where every member of the church is there to support every other member in whatever need arises.

First, they had all things in common and sold their possessions and goods to divide among those that had less. This will seem extreme to most people today, but the earliest church realized that everything they had belonged to God. They put their love of God ahead of their love of possessions. This is one problem with the church today; people put their possessions ahead of God.

Second, they met together daily in the temple. This will seem extreme to most people today, but the earliest church put God first in their lives. Most people go to work daily, watch TV daily, read the paper daily, etc., but few people would consider going to church daily. The earliest church realized that every breath they took was a gift from God. This is one problem with the church today; people put their time and schedules ahead of God.

Third, they broke bread together from house to house. This will seem extreme to most people today, but the earliest church realized that fellowship with other believers is an important part of Christianity. They spend time together daily because they were a family in God, they were united in their love for God. This is one problem with the church today; people put themselves ahead of God.

Lastly, the Lord added to the church daily. This will seem impossible to most people today, but the earliest church flourished because they put God first in every aspect of their lives which other people noticed and wanted to be a part of. The earliest church demonstrated their faith by the way they lived their daily lives; there was no questioning that their faith was real.

What can the church of today learn from the earliest church? First and foremost is to put God first in all aspects of life. The details of what the earliest church did and how they lived are less important than their motivations. Their daily life revolved around God because God was the most important thing to them. Life was not about who had the most possessions, who had the most prestige, or who had the most influence; they understood that they had to become as the least on earth to be great in God's eyes.

for he that is least among you all, the same shall be great. (Luke 9:48)

Many people will say that the Bible can be used as an instruction manual for living the human life; however, few people realize that the Bible also provides an instruction manual for how the church should operate. Jesus started one church - one without division, denominations or controversy - one church founded on love. The Damascus Road Experience Church is founded on the Biblical teachings of how a church should operate. We believe that God will bless our church as we strive to be the church He wants by following His Biblical guidance.