What an amazing time we had last week at our Big Family Day Out. We had several thousand people present and the atmosphere was just wonderful. I remember at 6.45 am, it was raining with thunder and lightning. The sky was black. I think all of Cornerstone was praying. When I got there at 8.30 am, the skies were still cloudy but the rain had stopped. We were all on tenterhooks. The weather held up till about 30 minutes into the program when it started to drizzle slightly. I remember looking up to the clouds and praying and I had a prophetic moment. I caught a momentary glimpse of the absolute goodness of our Heavenly Father in a split second and I just knew all will be well. The weather forecast from 9 am – 12 pm was thundery showers all over Singapore but God answered our prayer and gave us gorgeous weather throughout the event. We give God the highest praise.
We had dubbed the event “Kith and Kin” and essentially, it was a celebration of the FAMILY and what it means to be a family and to belong to one. I think that there are very few things in life that are more important than FAMILY and Kith & Kin was to remind us of that. The family is the basic building block of society. If and when the family disintegrates, all of society will start to crumble and break down. Which is why we need to protect family values, we need to protect the family unit and the sanctity of marriage. Any attack on the family is an attack on our way of life.
I remember when we first began this church way back in 1990. We started out as two cell groups of about 80 people but we were a tight family. And over the last 20 years, 25 years if you include our Anglican years, that’s how we have built this church, member by member, on the basis of the family unit. The church has now grown to almost 5,000 people but we cannot lose the identity that God has forged in us. We are now a large extended family but we are still a family.
The early church was an amazing church that was birthed on the Day of Pentecost. The event that started it all was the coming of the Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Trinity. When Peter stood up with the 11 and preached, we are told that 3,000 men were swept into the kingdom. The church was in massive revival; make no mistake about it. But it’s one thing to have a move of God; it’s totally another to sustain the move. The apostles realized that this was a unique moment in history. They had to do something to organize themselves, because you cannot sustain a move of God on goosebumps and exotic experiences. So they prepared a wineskin that could contain what God was doing because something like this had never ever happened before.
So in Acts 2:46, we see the grand blueprint of the NT church. They met daily, with one accord, in the temple, and from house to house. The temple meetings were the congregational celebrations that we have over our weekends. But the house-to-house meetings were built around the family unit and that kept the FIRE burning. What did they do in these house meetings? We are told that they were taught the apostles’ doctrine, they had fellowship, they broke bread, they prayed together, and they took care of the poor. And this new wineskin contained the greatest move of God that the church has ever seen in her last 2,000-year history.
What happens over the weekend services is insufficient to sustain what God is seeking to do. The apostles realized that they had to somehow break down the size of the congregation into smaller units that could be and shepherded by leaders who could easily read the ground and make decisions. In Acts 4:32-35, we see a further development of the family structure. Those who were well off sold what belonged to them so that anyone who had lack was taken care of. They got involved with social initiatives that took care of the poor, and they became self-contained microcosms of the corporate church, all centralized through a leadership structure governed by the apostles. I like to suggest to you that this is the one big key in sustaining a revival in our church.
The early church is the divine plumb line and was built upon the family unit that met from house to house, and everyone in the church is interconnected through these family units. You see, a cell is more than just a place where we connect relationally and fellowship. People sometimes think that our cells are where we babysit God’s people. No. The cell is essentially the basic fighting unit of the church and out of these cells ought to come the brightest and best ideas and initiatives of the church. They are the incubators for believers to be prepared for their destiny.
So let’s learn to value community. God is seeking to place a mantle of community over the church.