Titius Justus made his way back from the market. He had to arrange an extra delivery of refreshments for the growing fellowship that would already be squeezing into the living room of his home. He waved good day to the Rabbi as he passed the synagogue who merely returned a scornful look. One of the brothers, a Gentile Greek, stood waiting on the door step with a rolled up scroll tucked under his arm.
“I have a plan for the growth of the fellowship.” Archus announced, “May I tell the brethren about it?” Tituis nodded ascent and ushered Archus through the door where Chloe offered to take his tunic.
“No, please attend to our guests, Chloe.” Titius requested, “There is no need for formality, you are free.”
“You should think about your social standing” Chloe scolded.
“It is too late to start worrying about that my dear.” Titius chided as he suspected that he was not on the Rabbi’s Yom Kippur card list already.
It was clear that the house group would need to discuss growth plans. As sizeable as the residence was there people spilling out into the courtyard, straining to see through the windows and packed like galley oarsmen along the walls. It was as though every tribe in the known world had sent a representative to this corner of Corinth. These days there was little point in opening the meeting with Hebrew prayers since less than half their number had any command of the language.
After the opening worship Titius introduced Archus certain that the proposal would bring relief to the stuffy gathering.
“I propose that we build a church building” Archus declared confidently. “We should move into a building specially built for our meetings. There could be an auditorium big enough to hold several hundred people at once. A building dedicated to our Lord Jesus Christ that would eclipse the famous Temple of Aphrodite. What a grand edifice it would be!”
“An exciting vision,” Titius declared as Archus opened the scroll and displayed the image of an impressive structure with a high vaulted ceiling, “Brethren what do you think?”
Crispus raised a hand and asked “How long will it take to build?”
Archus sucked in his breath and answered “Two or three years probably.”
“But how can we grow whilst we are waiting for the builders?” Stephanus objected “If were to use Aquillas place in Lechaeum Port and my house near the Saronic Harbour we could reach to the sailors far greater ease.”
“A master piece cannot be rushed” Archus retorted, “There is a fine plot over looking the
city suburbs a league out side the North gate. A single central location must be more efficient for reaching the nations.”
Apollos, the star of the preaching circuit stood next. “Would there only be need for one teacher for all those that gathered at such a voluminous hall?”
“Why yes. It features the latest in acoustic technology. The high ceiling will carry your voice like the finest amphitheatre. Many more could benefit from you wisdom.” Archus flattered as those of a more technical bent admired the science.
“I’m not convinced” said Apollos thoughtfully. “One talk is not right for both new believers and mature disciples. Besides, if there are only group and one talk, how do we give a chance for new preachers to learn their craft?” A couple of preaching hopefuls applauded Apollos’ oratory.
“Fear not Apollos. This new building will open up a whole new range of ministries. It will need stewards to maintain it as well as people to clean, prepare and decorate it. There will be more than enough work to keep everyone occupied.”
“How much would a building of this grandeur cost?” asked Treasurer Erastus. “I fear this may distract us from doing the Lords work to serve the poor and the needy.”
“A princely sum it must be said. Never the less should we stint on a house for our Lord? We could always sell some of the slaves to fund this project.” Archus enthused oblivious to the dagger like stares from Chloe and some of the captive Brothers.
Titius sighed before hushing the room once more, “My fellow Corinthians perhaps we should bring this matter to the Lord in prayer? Archus’ plans for a church building have much merit but there is a risk of us all becoming slaves to it. I feel that the Lord would have us meet in house groups as we do now.”
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