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.