(Part 2 in a series on the implications of mutual edification as the purpose of the gathering of the church): I have argued previously that the purpose for the gathering of the church in the New Testament is mutual edification (1 Cor 14:26)â€”each believer building up other believers and being built up himself or herself (see here, here, and here). If most churches understand their purpose in gathering to be something other than edification (i.e. worship or evangelism), then this change in understanding will have significant implications for the contemporary church. These implications fall into both philosophical as well as practical categories.
This series will examine several of the implications of mutual edification for the gathering of the church.
Second, the church should recognize that focusing on the gifts and abilities of one individual (or a small group of individuals) will not lead to the spiritual growth of the body, regardless of how large the audience becomes. The current trend of Christian celebrities and mega-church personalities does not lead to every believer accepting their responsibility to build up the body of Christ. Instead placing the spotlight on â€œthe man of Godâ€ or the pastoral staff promotes the unbiblical distinction between clergy and laity, between trained ministerial professionals and ordinary Christians. As Robert Girard expressed, â€œThe Church was never meant to be a one-man show. The Body was never expected to draw all its life, teaching and leadership from any one person â€“ however spiritual or well-trained that person might be (Eph. 4:16).â€
Considering Paul’s hypothetical situation in 1 Corinthians 14:23-25, the unbeliever was not converted because the Holy Spirit was with a â€œman of God,â€ but because the Holy Spirit was with a community of believersâ€”the people of God. In order for mutual edification to be the result of any gathering of believers, every believer should recognize and accept their own callingâ€”all are called to be ministers (servants), all are called to be preachers (proclaimers), all are called to be evangelists, all are called to be teachers, all are called to make disciples.
Implications of Mutual Edification Series:
1. Mutual Edification and Individualism
2. Mutual Edification and Leadership
3. Mutual Edification and Excellence
4. Mutual Edification and Reverence
5. Mutual Edification and Activities
 Robert C. Girard, Brethren, Hang Loose (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1972), 51-52.