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Reclaiming the Focus of the 1st Century Church

VJTM Cover image. An orange and grey background with the VJTM logo, the text "Vanguard Journal of Theology & Ministry", and the Issue information (Volume 1:1, spring 2022) overlaid.


The church of the 21st century frequently looks to the example of its predecessor found described in the book of Acts. Even though the early church experienced numerous difficulties including church discipline, persecution, and forging procedures for representing Christ properly, the present-day church looks back with a yearning for equal effectiveness missionally. Some will define effectiveness by the numbers of people added to the church. Others will counter with observable results including the countless healings, exorcisms, and bold preaching. Yet, today’s church is often drawn to a social agenda. One cannot sustain a complaint that a social agenda is excluded from the life of the fledgling church. Luke wrote that “there was not a needy person among them” (Acts 4:34 NASB). This was the life of the church but what of their missional efforts? Did the early church also care for the community’s needs and why? This paper will explore what may have motivated the 1st century church that could be missing in the 21st century. The investigation of scripture will go beyond the book of Acts. It will largely touch on not only the teaching but also the habits of the church which could be chosen as a model for the present day and the future church. An important question to be answered is, “has the church today replaced the foundational focus held by the early church and if so, is there a legitimate reason for doing so?”. 


God, Jesus Christ, Church, Twenty-first Century, Missional, Pastoral, Church trends