WHY CHURCH @ EFEO, (DISCIPLES’ COMMUNITY GROUPS)?
Church @ EFEO is designed and patterned after the original, grassroot, 1st century style of disciples (Church), coming together in a house, to study the word of God, prayed, sang, broke the bread; and fellowshipped together. This afforded them the necessary spiritual, physical and emotional support, imperative for their faith growth; in the first three centuries of the church, when Christians were few in number; and were under great persecutions. Since our modern time is now unfolding like a repeat of the first three centuries of church history, we are humbled and grateful to God, that the Lord has called Eternal Food Ministry; under her evangelistic unit known as, Eternal Food Evangelistic Organization (EFEO) as one of the remnants, whom God has saddled with the divine mandate; to gather Christ’s disciples in believers’ homes to worship, as instituted by Christ Himself, and continued by the apostles.
“A church is never intended to be spoken of as a building. In the first three centuries, the church was a body of believers.” (Dr. J Vernon McGee 1904-1988- Thru the Bible, The Study of the Book of Romans, Chapter 16).
The body of Christ is not the physical structure, but the collection of disciples who gather together under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Over the centuries, man’s quest to make things better in his own way, has replaced the spiritual identity of the church with the physical; in form of a building, money collection, programs and so on.
BIBLICAL FOUNDATIONS FOR CHURCH @EFEO
Luke 22:10-12, “And He [Jesus] said to them, “Behold, when you have entered the city, a man will meet you carrying a pitcher of water, follow him into the house which he enters. 11 Then you shall say to the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says to you, “Where is the guest room where I may eat the Passover with My disciples?” 12 Then he will show you a large, furnished upper room; there make ready.” Also read, Mark 14:12-26.
Acts 12:5, 12:12, “So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was fervently praying to God for him… And when he had considered the thing, he came to the house of Mary the mother of John, whose surname was Mark; where many were gathered together praying.”
Colossians 4:15, “Salute the brethren which are in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the church which is in his house.”
Romans 16:5, “Likewise greet the church that is in their house. Salute my well beloved Epaenetus, who is the firstfruits of Achaia unto Christ.”
Philippians 4:22, “All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of Caesar’s household.”
That said, the emergence of bigger and bigger physical structure, to accommodate larger groups of people, have been thought to be of necessity in pursuit of church’s growth. However, this tendency has gradually eroded the spiritual and physical needs of believers, gathering together.
Other bible-based explanations for small gatherings of believers in the early church system which EFEO as a body of Christ has adopted are:
- It removes centralization of focus from man to Christ. John 3:30, “He must increase, but I must decrease.”
- It precludes the natural inclination to focus on amassing wealth and embarking on bogus and needless gigantic projects. Matthew 6:19a-20, “ Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth…..but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust corrupts, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.”
- It changes the mindset from building-focused to people-focused: people’s needs are met more promptly and efficiently than in a large setting. Galatians 6:2, “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.”
- Money is spent directly on addressing people’s needs, and the course of the gospel (evangelism), rather than things that have no eternal values. Matthew 25:35, “For I was hungry, you gave Me food: I was thirsty, and you gave Me drink…naked, and you clothed Me: I was sick, and you visited Me: I was in prison and you came unto Me.”
- Challenges or differences are easier to handle or settle, in a small home-church setting because people know one another by name, and personal interactions are better enhanced unlike in large groups. Philippians 4:2, “I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord.”