Summary: It takes a lot to become a five star restaurant... it takes a lot to become a five star church (based on the 5 points of Acts 2)
The Fellowship of the Believers
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
“A Five Star Church”
[Put Chef’s apron on… put Chef’s hat on]
Oh hi! Welcome to our restaurant. I don’t know if you heard the news or not… but our restaurant recently earned the coveted five star rating!!!! Did you know that there are only 54 restaurants in the entire world that have earned the five star rating?!?! Well… 55 now!
We are very proud. Getting a five star rating is nearly impossible to accomplish. There are so many different elements that need to be perfect. It isn’t just about food… I mean… you can go just about anywhere and be fed… but it is truly hard to find true fine dining perfection. Just look at the star rewards themselves…
A really well run McDonald’s could attain a one star rating; one star really isn’t much of a big deal. A two star rating is little harder… it represents “a truly enjoyable dining experience”… something slightly out of the reach of a McDonald’s. Now, three stars is much harder… three stars represent “a very good restaurant in its category.” Four stars is tougher still… “excellent dining experience, worth a detour.” And five stars… “exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey all on its own.” A five star restaurant is a really big deal… it means people will go out of their way… drive hundreds of miles, book reservations months in advance… just for the experience.
Five stars represents a perfect marriage of all the right elements… a top notch chef able to make the finest dishes the world has to offer, a wine list extensive enough to impress even the stuffiest of snobs, service unlike you have ever witnessed in you life… I had to fight three other restaurants to get the quality of our Maitre D’ service, finally… ambience… a perfect blend of décor and location. The 100th floor of the Hancock building, the cliffs overlooking Jaur de Pure, we are all too fortunate to have snatched up this prized property overlooking the magnificent “Casey’s” on highway 24! We could not have received our fifth star without it!
A top restaurant rating can easily mean success or failure for a restaurant… not just in the sense of business success either. The difference between four stars and five stars is so great… that it has made and broke reputations and fortunes. Not only that but it has influenced the direction of the country’s – indeed, to a lesser degree, the world’s – restaurant scene.
If you ever happen to loose the five star rating… it can absolutely crush a restaurant, or crush the head chef! Take the Disney animated film “Ratatouille” for instance. Famed French chef Auguste Gusteau lost his five star rating to a bad review… and the broken hearted chef… *DIED!* [wipe a tear] I’m sorry… I’m still emotional about it.
If you can ever reach the coveted five star rating, and keep it… people will climb over each other to get in the doors.
Now… it might shock you… but… I belong to a church. And I’ve often wondered if we could take the success of five star ratings for restaurants and apply that same success to our churches. I mean… churches working to become excellent in all their different areas… so much so that people will climb over each other to be a part of the amazing things happening in the church.
Then, I just so happened to stumbled across this scripture verse from the book of Acts. This text comes right on the heals of the miraculous story of the Pentecost… all the excitement… all the emotion… the outpouring of the Holy Spirit that wins three thousand souls. However, this is nothing too special… the high points of religion easily come… almost as easily as they can slip away. We’ve seen mass revivals… we’ve seen sudden growth after a fancy new church is built, seen sudden growth after a new way of thinking is introduced… however… we’ve also seen that growth become temporary as the “new guard” quickly becomes the “old guard” and the newness wears off.
What may surprise us… is that Luke does not stop with the story of Pentecost… he turns our attention here at verse 41 to what happens after Pentecost. The apostles build a church… and turn it into the first ever “five star church:” a church worthy of going out of the way to see, a church able to sustain growth, a church… living up to its calling as a church. Let us read again these verses with fresh ears, focusing on the aspects of this “five star church.”