As I was reading through the book of Acts, I wanted to identify the “irreducible minimum” of the church. Here’s what I mean by that term. The irreducible minimum is a philosophical term used to define the least amount of attributes necessary to maintain function and identity. For example, consider the parts of a tree (i.e. leaves, branches, trunk, roots). Can the leaves be removed and still have a tree? Can some or all of the branches be removed and still be a tree? Can the trunk be removed and still be a tree? It seems reasonable to say that once you chop the trunk away, you no longer have a tree but you have a stump. Therefore, you cannot remove the trunk without changing the very essence of the tree.
In a similar way, there is an “irreducible minimum” of characteristics that define the church. If we neglect or cease to demonstrate that particular characteristic, we cease to be a church. As you read through the book of Acts with this particular lens, you begin to notice the first characteristic (i.e. irreducible minimum) is the church’s focus on Jesus. The church must remain focused on Jesus. If a church loses focus of Jesus, it has ceased to be a biblical New Testament church.
Dr. Chris Dortch has been in vocational ministry since 1993. His blog is aimed to "equip the saints for the work of ministry."