The New Testament was written to the common people from across diverse regions of the Roman Empire. Look at Paul’s introductory remarks in all his letters:
- “Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus…to all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints.” Romans
- “Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God…to the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy…” I Corinthians
- “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God…to the church of God in Corinth, together with all the saints throughout Achaia.” II Corinthians
- “Paul, an apostle…to the churches in Galatia:” Galatians
- “Paul, an apostle…to the saints in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus:” Ephesians
- “Paul and Timothy…to all the saints in Christ Jesus at Philippi together with the bishops and deacons.” Philippians
(Note: This is the only letter that mentions the leaders of the church, but even this one is still addressed to all the saints, which, of course includes the elders and deacons.)
Each letter was addressed to the believers within a given city or region as shown above. All expressions of body life within a city are expressions of the life of Jesus, and Jesus loves His Body so much, that we ought to truly love and express that love and support to all that the Lord is doing in our cities and regions. The good taking place within the Body of Christ in a given city is a blessing to all Christians in that city, and likewise all that not well within the Body of Christ also affects the rest of the Body of Christ. We are knit together through the fellowship we share in the Holy Spirit. As such we encourage believers in cities to pray for and bless and support the other expressions of body life in the cities and regions. We encourage believers to interact with and support in any way possible what the Lord is doing in other gatherings of believers across the cities.
In like manner, as a relational redemptive community we likewise encourage connecting with and supporting and encouraging other house churches and networks in our cities and regions, so that the Kingdom will be blessed, extended and expanded.
Being a city or regional church is the New Testament pattern. The New Testament speaks of the local church being the combined expression of the city or regional church, and never speaks of the modern denominational or congregational distinctions we have grown accustomed to. We embrace the city church and all that God is doing in her midst, and we bless what He is doing and is going to do in the future, as more and more apostolic communities are birthed and more and more churches in the house are planted.