the weblog of Alan Knox

Gathering together…

Posted by on Mar 28, 2007 in gathering, spiritual gifts | 14 comments

Philip at “Churchless Christian” has written an excellent post called “Reflections on Gathering Together“. He makes many of the same points that I’ve made on my blog. Of his five points, this one is very important to me:

I really try and remind people when they gather that they should spiritually and physically (eg food) give something to the gathering and take something from the gathering. If everyone does that it is a powerful time in Christ.

I’ve talked to many believers who understand that God desires to work through them using the spiritual gifts that He gives them. But, when it comes to meeting with other believers, they do not think they have anything important to bring to the gathering. Some feel that others within the body are more important, and perhaps their gifts are dispensable, contra 1 Cor. 12:22-24.

God’s plan for growing the church, at least according to Eph. 4:16, is for each believer to do his or her part. As each one serves in the power of God and speaks as God directs (1 Peter 4:10-11), God is glorified. While the meeting of the church is not the time for prima donna believers, it is also not the time for passive, sit-and-soak believers. The meeting of the church is a time for all believers to come together in order to edify one another.


14 Comments

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  1. 3-28-2007

    How can this be implemented on a day to day or sunday to sunday basis? I think that is the challenge, putting feet to the theology/ecclesiology you have formed.

  2. 3-28-2007

    Ed,

    I appreciate the comment again. I’m wondering, why do you think it is a “challenge” to implement this idea?

    -Alan

  3. 3-28-2007

    How do you incorporate kids and single women and wives and older people actively instead of just the preacher?

  4. 3-28-2007

    Ed,

    Perhaps the first step would be recognizing that God can use (even preach through?) “kids and single women and wives and older people”.

    Perhaps another step would be to examine what Scripture says about preaching/proclamation/teaching and compare that to what the church normally calls preaching/teaching.

    Those would be just two suggestions that I would have in implementing this. Of course, the very first, and most important to me, would be to discern IF God says different people should exercise their gifts when we come together as the church. If the answer is, “Yes”, then I think the “How” becomes both more important, and more urgent.

    -Alan

  5. 3-29-2007

    This is a good post, Alan, and timely for me as well.

    He makes some interesting points in his article. The first, about liturgy being basically the same everywhere. You know, I hadn’t thought about it but he’s right! Why is that? It may be, like he said, based on the synagogue which was an invention of man. Interesting …

    I thought his 5 points were good.

  6. 3-29-2007

    Heather,

    I think many Protestants would be surprised to learn how closely their “worship service” aligns with the Catholic or Orthodox liturgy.

    -Alan

  7. 3-29-2007

    I think the answer to the IF question is yes, don’t you? My question is how to involve a Cathy or Joe as opposed to the preacher and song leader. How about a new Christian not as zealous as Reid? Furthermore, how do you involve a new Christian and correct them thru the priesthood of believers when they make an obvious theological mistake? I say it is a challenge b/c we could go to a typical baptistic service in 30 seconds with a blueprint with certain assured results. I would agree that Prot. services are similar to Catholic but do maintain enough distinction to be separate.

  8. 3-29-2007

    Ed,

    Great questions! Yes, I agree that the answer to the “IF” question is, “Yes”. To answer the “How” question. First, is there a scriptural dichotomy between the “preacher” or “song leader” and other believers that gather with the church? If there is no scriptural dichotomy (and, I don’t there is), then we should live and act as if there is no dichotomy.

    I have personally spoken with several people and encouraged them to come to the meeting with something prepared to share with other believers. I have also personally spoken with some who perhaps seem too eager to speak. Sometimes, when someone shares something that God is teaching them, I will say, “That is very encouraging. I wish you had shared that with everyone.” Of course, we can’t make people speak.

    -Alan

  9. 3-29-2007

    Hi alen
    I don’t think there is a dichotomy either biblically for preacher/song leader, only as presented in church at times. That is the perception I would say. The HOW part is important in that it opens or closes the gathering to more people or to less people. I am interested in seeing how we could do this on sunday morning and evening more. I wuold also like to say thank you and I respect you for the ministry you are doing at Messiah and the blog. Now if I could only figure out how to type in Hebrew I might start blogging…

  10. 3-29-2007

    Ed,

    I would also like to see how we could incorporate this into more of our meetings… Sundays and other meeting times as well.

    -Alan

  11. 3-29-2007

    Could we ever let someone other than a 30 to 40 year old male lead/dominate or moderate an assembling might be a good starting point? just a truth with an element of joke in it. or maybe the other way around.

  12. 3-29-2007

    Ed,

    Yep, I think that’s a good idea. I even have someone in mind. Do you think he’ll do it?

    -Alan

  13. 3-30-2007

    Samuel might but I don’t think many will be able to understand

  14. 3-30-2007

    Samuel is also known round these parts as OneSock