The meeting of the saints ISN’T an end in itself. It’s not the reason we exist. As we say in the churches I run with: The church isn’t the meetings. The meetings express what the church is. But the church can’t be reduced to its meetings. We are the church all the time. Of course, this is so much easier to see when there’s some kind of community going on. When you live really close together, for example, the communal aspect of the church is made visible. It’s like a family. And a family doesn’t become a family by eating supper together. It already is a family. Everything it does is as a family. But because it IS a family, they spend a lot of time together, and they eat together. Likewise the church is the church whatever it does. It doesn’t become the church because it does the right thing when it meets. Please don’t buy that mentality. The church is so much more than its meetings.
Neil continues by reminding us that a problem with the meeting is an indication of an underlying problem with the church itself. “Tweaking” the meeting will not solve the underlying problem.
Many people look at the “worship service” of the church today – the meeting – and decide that there are problems. I would tend to agree – there are certainly problems. However, these problems will not be solved by simply changing the meeting. We must return to the Scriptures to answer the question: “Who are we as the church?” Once we know who we are, then we can better answer the question, “What should happen when we meet?”