the weblog of Alan Knox

Who is responsible for speaking during the meeting?

Posted by on Dec 27, 2007 in edification, gathering | 4 comments

This blog post and the previous post were published in May of 2006 (see “Who is qualified to speak during the meeting?” and “Who is responsible for speaking during the meeting?“). I thought my newer readers might enjoy these posts. My thoughts in this area have not changed much in the last year and a half.


Yesterday, I asked the question, “Who is qualified to speak during the meeting?” Today, I want to take this farther: Whose responsibility is it to speak during the meeting? Within most groups of believers, this responsibility falls upon one man (or at most a few men). What does Scripture say?

1 Corinthians 12-14 teaches that every believer is gifted by the Holy Spirit, and during the assembly of the church, these gifts are to be exercised in order to build up (edify) the body of Christ (not the individual). So, all believers are qualified to speak during the meeting.

Furthermore, Ephesians 4:1-10 confirms this. Gifts are given to each believer by Christ (through the Spirit). Gifted individuals are given to the church (Eph. 4:11-12) to equip the body for works of service in order to edify the body towards maturity, which is measured by the stature of Christ himself.

Ephesians 4:16 is an interesting verse. Removing the modifying phrases, the main clause is “the body… causes the growth of the body” (to soma … ten auxesin tou somatos poieitai…). Adding the modifying phrases, this body growth only happens when the body is in Christ, the head, and when each member of the body is doing his own part, which is “measured” by Christ.

Combining these two passages (1 Corinthians 12-14 and Ephesians 4), every member is instructed to take responsibility for the growth of the body.

Are pastors responsible for being filled with the Spirit and speaking during the meeting in order to edify the body? Yes! But, so is every other member. If one man (or a few men) dominates the meeting time, then he is not allowing the body to function as God desires it to function-he is usurping the responsibility given to every member of the body. If a group of people allows one man (or a few men) to dominate the meeting, then they are not fulfilling their God-given responsibility to edify the body.


Comments are closed. If you would like to discuss this post, send an email to alan [at] alanknox [dot] net.

  1. 12-27-2007

    My thought would be that practically, if you’re having a church service with 200 people, it’s somewhat impractical to have EVERYBODY speak. So it ends up falling on one person (or perhaps a few people that rotate every few weeks). In small groups (or cell groups, or whatever you like to call them) though, I think that allows EVERYONE to contribute. Still, I think that you’ll see in many small groups, that it’s one or two people who do all the talking (and preparing). Why is this? I think that at least in America, we’re lazy. We want to get FED, but we don’t want to have to do any work.

  2. 12-27-2007


    Its amazing how often we yield to the practical, the efficient, or the expedient. Why not the biblical?


  3. 12-28-2007

    I understand what you’re saying, but wouldn’t we end up with chaos if in a meeting of 200 or more we almost anyone could speak? I wonder if perhaps the way things are described in the Bible (regarding speaking at meetings) is because the group meeting was small enough for it to be practical that everybody could throw their two cents in.

  4. 12-28-2007


    Thanks for continuing this conversation. Your comment shows me that I haven’t been as clear as I need to be about the pattern of church meeting that I see in Scripture. When people speak as directed by the Spirit instead of by a plan or by their position, I do not think that chaos will result – even if a large number of people are meeting together. Also, I do not think the pattern that Paul describes – especially in 1 Cor 14:26-40 – is the same as everyone throwing in their two cents. I will have to think about your comment and try to describe it better in the future. I will only say here that the Spirit is able to guide a group of 20 without chaos, and he is able to guide a group of 20,0000 without chaos. However, he has to be the one in charge. I can see how chaos would result as long as people remain in charge.