Loneliness is one of the greatest threats to our sense of well-being, affecting our health through our behaviors on social media, food consumption, and the like. One study suggests that nearly two-thirds of all people—regardless of age or gender—feel lonely at least some of the time. One British supermarket has created “talking tables” in their store cafés as a way to foster connection between people. Those looking for human interaction simply seat themselves at a table designated for that purpose, joining others or indicating a desire to be joined. Conversation ensues, providing a sense of connection and community.
The people of the early church were committed to shared connection too. Without each other, they would likely have felt very alone in the practice of their faith, which was still new to the world. Not only did they “[devote] themselves to the apostles’ teaching” to learn what following Jesus meant, they also “[met] together in the temple courts” and “broke bread in their homes” for mutual encouragement and fellowship (Acts 2:42, 46).
We need human connection; God designed us that way! Painful seasons of loneliness point to that need. Like the people of the early church, it’s important for us to engage in the human companionship our well-being requires and to offer it to those around us who also need it.
Acts 2 describes the birth of the church on the day of Pentecost when God, in fulfillment of prophecies and promises (Isaiah 32:15; Ezekiel 36:26–27; 39:29; Joel 2:28–32; John 16:7), sent the Holy Spirit to indwell those who believed in Jesus (Acts 2:1–4). Three thousand people (2:41) were added to the one hundred twenty-member congregation (1:15). This first church was a growing, gracious, and generous church. The Greek word for “fellowship” (2:42) is koinōnia and carries the meaning of “participation, sharing.” Believers participated in a shared identity and spirituality—learning spiritual truths, devoting themselves to fellowship, remembering Jesus’ death, depending on God, experiencing His power, and showing extravagant acts of generosity toward the needy (vv. 42–47).