If you invite lone followers of Jesus for the Lord’s Supper in your home, you will be bringing them into agape fellowship. The 3,000 Jews that turned to Jesus on the Day of Pentecost had that kind of fellowship and it continued for over 150 years as it sparsely does to this day. I ask you to annex celebration of the Lord’s Supper in table fellowship to your regular congregational gathering.
What I ask may seem outlandish, but it is a needed remedy. Three articles published by the Barna group show the need. The authors show that 73% of Americans identify as Christian and 55% of them are church attenders, while 45% are not.
In every case, their beliefs about God are more orthodox than the general population, even rivaling their church-going counterparts. Meet Those Who “Love Jesus but Not the Church,” Barna
The twin cultural trends of deinstitutionalization and individualism have, for many, moved spiritual practice away from the public rituals of institutional Christianity to the private experience of God within. Meet the “Spiritual but not Religious” Barna
Don’t let the titles and the terms Churched and Unchurched throw you off. The articles make clear the authors are referring to Christians and all followers of Jesus are part of the body of Christ—the Church. Since the term “church” means so many different things in our culture, more and more christian leaders refer to followers of Jesus as His Community rather than as His Church as David Stern did in his Complete Jewish Bible in 1998.
I also tell you this: you are Kefa,” [which means `Rock,’] “and on this rock I will build my Community, and the gates of Sh’ol will not overcome it. Mt 16:18
The point is, 45% of Christians are not gathering in fellowship with a local part of the community of Jesus.
You know some of these lone Christians and you can invite one or two of them to join you and few of your fellow believers for a meal of the Lord’s Supper in your home. That would be much more meaningful than inviting them to church.
Jesus calls us to eat and drink with one another in memory of Him.
The Lord Yeshua on the night in which he was betrayed took bread. When he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “Take, eat. This is my body, which is broken for you. Do this in memory of me.” In the same way he also took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink, in memory of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks the Lord’s cup in a way unworthy of the Lord will be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread, and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy way eats and drinks judgment to himself if he doesn’t discern the Lord’s body. For this cause many among you are weak and sickly, and not a few sleep. For if we discerned ourselves, we wouldn’t be judged. But when we are judged, we are punished by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world. Therefore, my brothers, when you come together to eat, wait for one another. But if anyone is hungry, let him eat at home, lest your coming together be for judgment. The rest I will set in order whenever I come. 1 Cor 11:23b-34 WMB
Paul wrote, “walk in love.”
Put on therefore, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, a heart of compassion, kindness, lowliness, humility, and perseverance; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, if any man has a complaint against any; even as Messiah forgave you, so you also do.
Above all these things, walk in love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body, and be thankful. Let the word of Messiah dwell in you richly; in all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your heart to the Lord. Col 3:12-17 WMB
Such fellowship differs in several important ways from congregational fellowship. Agape, love one another, face to face, fellowship over a meal makes for ongoing relationships, includes each one as a participant, motivates sharing goods and services with one another and promotes each one working properly for the building of the body of Christ. Whereas, congregational fellowship is much more structured and focuses much more on teaching and doctrine than on relationships. We need both Lord’s Supper home groups and congregational fellowship.
Kreider shows that a key turning point in the church (in fact in all church history) was when, after the conversion of the Emperor Constantine, the focus of church life and catechesis shifted from Christian behavior to Christian doctrine. From actual living to theology. The catechetical process was shortened and the focus shifted from behavior to belief (274–77). This likely will appear a great oversimplification to some, but Kreider makes his case well. Howard Snyder
This is how the early followers of Jesus loved one another.
Continuing faithfully and with singleness of purpose to meet in the Temple courts daily, and breaking bread in their several homes, they shared their food in joy and simplicity of heart, praising God and having the respect of all the people. And day after day the Lord kept adding to them those who were being saved. Acts 2:46-47 CJB.
That is a description of agape feasts. “Agape” translated “love” is used 116 times in the New Testament.