"And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread and the prayers. (…) And all that believed were together, and had all things common."
(The Bible: Acts chap. 2, verses 42-44)
Christians are disciples (= students) of their Lord Jesus Christ. The word "Christian" occurs only three times in the entire New Testament. It was mostly used by outsiders - sometimes derogatory - as a designation for people who believe in Jesus, the Son of God. The term “church” (ancient Greek: “eklesia”) means “the called out one”. He describes that the church of God consists of people whom God called out of the world to be his people and to serve him alone. This means that Christians are no longer determined by the norms and standards of the world, which are largely in conflict with God, but by the will of their creator and the commandments of their Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ (Siehe: "Who is Jesus Christ?").
The Bible gives us a glimpse into the life of the early Christians and the way believers of that time fellowshiped with one another. In the book of Acts it is recorded that the first Christians not only shared the same creed, namely that God is their Father and Jesus, the Son of God, their common Lord, whom they follow, but also shared their whole lives with one another, i.e. theirs time, their joys and sorrows, their experiences with God, and even their possessions. Furthermore, it is said that all believers were of one heart and soul, i.e. they all had the same purpose, namely to serve God and one another with whole devotion. As children of God, they saw themselves as a family, as brothers and sisters who, through their faith in Jesus Christ, became partakers of eternal life.
"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service."
(The Bible: Romans chap. 12, verse 1)
The early Christians met regularly in the Temple in Jerusalem (destroyed around AD 70 by the Romans as a result of the Jews rejecting Jesus as their Messiah and persecuting his disciples) and in their homes. They spent almost all of their time praying together, praising God, and interceding for all people. In addition, they did good in the people, ministered to the needs and necessities of all believers, and boldly proclaimed the gospel of salvation through Jesus Christ (Siehe: "living in freedom and peace").
Worship for the early Christians was not limited to a few hours on any given day, as it is in many churches today. Nor did the duties and ministries of the early church rest on the shoulders of a few, while the rest took the role of passive listeners. On the contrary: all believers felt responsible for each other and each of them was actively involved in the church service. The motivation of the people was the love for God and one another. Common meals were also an integral part of the meetings and a sign of the deep connection between the first believers.
"And when they had appointed for them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they had believed."
(The Bible: Acts chap. 14, verse 23)
When the first churches came into being, Jesus instructed the apostles to call “elders” and set them up as leaders or overseers of the various congregations. These had the task of leading the believers, i.e. making decisions that are in the spirit of God and for the benefit of the community. Furthermore, the task of an elder was to teach the believers, i.e. to convey God's word to them in an understandable way, so that they understand God and his will more and more and implement it in their lives. At the same time, it was an elder's duty to protect the church from false teachings and harmful influences that could endanger their relationship with God or even their salvation.
Part of her role was to ensure that church meetings were conducted in an orderly and orderly manner and that each member of the community could contribute the talents and gifts he or she had received from God. Elders themselves had to be impeccable examples to the believers in everything. Unlike many contemporary denominations, no formal degree in theology was required to serve as a church leader, minister, or pastor. Rather, it was a person's character, personal spiritual maturity, and virtuous conduct that qualified a believer for such ministry, and which is a visible expression of a Christian's faith.
"For by his act we were given existence in Christ Jesus to do those good works which God before made ready for us so that we might do them."
(The Bible: Ephesians chap. 2, verse 10)
More and more Christians are recognizing the sometimes serious grievances that prevail in many traditional churches today. This affects both the regional church and most of the free churches. The most common problems include:
Teachings and traditions not derived from the Bible
many church members who do not believe in Jesus or the truths of the Bible glauben and do not live according to God's commandments
formal gatherings with no real fellowship among believers
hardly any opportunities to use one's own gifts and participate in community building
distance between church and church leadership
few genuine role models of leadership
rigid or deadlocked structures and a lack of willingness to carry out fundamental reforms
growing distance from the teachings of the Bible
increasingly adapting to the spirit of the time
leisure, culture and entertainment are often in the foreground; while the spiritual recedes into the background
As a result, more and more people, especially young people, are leaving their church or even turning away from God altogether. Others, on the other hand, look for communities in which Jesus Christ and the Word of God are clearly at the center and where the believers can actively contribute with their different gifts. In some cases, especially when a church's teachings and practices are inconsistent with the teachings of the Bible - as is particularly the case with the Catholic and, to some extent, the Protestant national church - the Bible even expressly urges Christians to distance them from this church (See: "God and church").
In the past few decades, many so called house churches have come into being that want to return to the original teaching of the apostles and follow the example of the community of faith and goods of the first Christians, as vividly described in the Bible. This trend is steadily increasing worldwide.
Instead of in special buildings, the believers gather in their houses in a simple and plain way, as was also the case with the first Christians. Instead of working through a prepared "God service program", the believers let themselves be guided by the spirit of God and shown by him how they can shape their community in God's mind and for the benefit of all. Instead of a formal mem-bership, every believer sees himself as part of the community and contributes to the upbuilding of the community with dedi-cation and commitment. The preaching of the gospel, as commanded by the Lord Jesus to all who follow him, is also an essential part of the daily ministry of believers.
It is also on our hearts to live community according to the example of the Acts of the Apostles, as we are convinced that this corresponds to God's will and intentions for all believers and that in this way lively and fruitful community work is possible (See: "About us").
We believe that church should not be a religious institution to be attended for tradition alone, but a place where the presence of God - i.e. the love, purity and peace of God - is made visible through people. Neither a name nor a specific building is important. What matters is that everything is done for the glory of God and in accordance with His will and Word. For then - and only then - does the church prove to be the true church of God.
Jesus Christ says:
"Thy will be done."
(The Bible: Matthew chap. 6, verse 10)