Recently, I had lunch with Lew from “The Pursuit“. Lew is a very good friend and former co-worker. If things continue as Lew and his wife hope, then God is moving us farther part in location – they plan to move to another state. However, from talking with Lew, it is also clear that God is moving us closer together spiritually.
At our recent lunch, we talked about Lew’s plans for meeting together and forming relationships with other Christians as the church once they move. One thing that is encouraging to me is that Lew and his wife plan to move near her parents, and that her parents are interested in different methods of meeting together and living as the church.
As we talked, I asked Lew a question – one that I have been pondering for some time: When the church meets together, is it necessary to have regularly scheduled (planned?) meetings, or is it necessary to have unscheduled (unplanned, casual?) meetings, or is it necessary to have both?
Now, in this question, and in the title of this post, I have tried to use words with as little “baggage” as possible – although I realize that it is impossible to remove all baggage (connotations) from words.
In the question, when I say “scheduled” meetings, I’m talking about meetings with believers that are scheduled to happen at the same time (and probably place) on a regular schedule (weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, etc). Note that this says nothing about the number of people who attend this meeting, nor does it say anything about what happens during the meeting. Perhaps a more complete name for these types of meetings would be “meetings which occur on a regular schedule” or “regularly scheduled meetings”.
When I say “unscheduled” meetings, I’m talking about meetings with believers that are not scheduled to happen on a regular interval. These meetings occur on occasion, although they could sometimes occurs as often as daily, and sometimes much less often. Again, the name “unscheduled” says nothing about the number of people gathered for this meeting, nor does it say anything about what happens during the meeting. Perhaps a more complete name for these types of meetings would be “meetings which do not occur on a regular schedule” or “non-regularly scheduled meetings”.
I do not mean to associate “scheduled” meetings or “unscheduled” meetings – at least in this post – with any particular type of meeting. In discussing “scheduled” meetings, I do not intend to include simply traditional Sunday morning church meetings. There are many different types of meetings that can be scheduled. Also, do not think about “unscheduled” meetings as simply nontraditional church meetings. “Unscheduled” meetings can be as traditional as “scheduled” meetings.
Our family gathers with other believers both in “scheduled” meetings and in “unscheduled” meetings. We have met in “scheduled” meetings which were very nontraditional with only a few people involved. We have met in “unscheduled” meetings which included many believers and were very traditional in nature.
The question that I asked Lew – and the question that I ask you as well – revolves simply around the question of whether it is necessary to have meetings that are “scheduled”, “unscheduled”, or both. So, what do you say? Which type(s) of meeting(s) is/are necessary? Scheduled? Unscheduled? Both? Why? As a follow up, if you think that the “scheduled”/”unscheduled” question is the wrong question to ask, then what is the right question, and why?