Bruns on Worship and Discipleship in the Early Church

At Seedbed, Steven D. Bruns has an excellent article on the relationship between corporate worship and making disciples in the early church.

… The main function of the worship service, wherever it was celebrated, was twofold. First, it was a time of intense teaching and discipleship, and second it was a time to receive the Eucharist. All people were allowed to attend the first part of the service; only baptized Christians were allowed to remain for the second. …

… The worship service was not evangelistic in nature, and the preaching was not for conversion of the visitors. The focus was on God and how to be a faithful follower of God. If people who were not Christian arrived at a service, (they frequently did since the Church experienced explosive growth for the first three centuries), they had already been intrigued by the lives of the Christians they knew. The reason they came was not to be the center of attention or the focus of the service, but to learn what these people truly believed and why.

Some may find it ironic, or even a bit troubling, that early Christian worship was liturgical, always incorporated the Lord’s Supper, did not focus on the conversion of its visitors, and yet still grew tremendously. …

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