the weblog of Alan Knox

Talking too much or too little

Posted by on Nov 6, 2009 in blog links, gathering | 7 comments

When church meetings are interactive, there is always the possibility that some people will talk to much and some people will talk too little. I probably fall into the “talk too much” camp.

I think there are several reasons for this, and I’m working on a post (or series of posts) concerning one possible cause: our understanding of expertise and experts.

Laura at “Who in the World are We?” has written a short essay concerning speakers and non-speakers in a post called “How do you Balance Talkers and Listeners?” She says:

I’ve been on both sides of this problem: the talky expert and the quieted voice. Neither one is good. Communal Bible study must happen as community, not merely in community. Participation, not mere presence, makes for community. If it occurs otherwise, then it is probably a lecture–and likely a boring one at that.

How do you balance the voices in communal Bible study, honoring both expert and non-expert?

In most church meetings, this is not an issue (or perhaps you could say the issue is taken to the extreme) because only one (or a few) people speak or take part in the meeting.

How would you answer Laura’s question? How should the church balance the “voices” during church meetings (not just Bible studies)?


7 Comments

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  1. 11-6-2009

    Alan we have had that issue in our home fellowship. I generally try to understand the motivation behind the talker. Sometimes we just need to let them talk. I think that kind of goes along with 1 Cor 12:21-25, about bestowing honor to those we think less honorable.

    However, it can lead to disruption and eventually the person needs to be confronted. One thing I have done in our group is to continually remind everyone why we meet: For mutual edification and honoring the Lord. This seems to help keep things in perspective.

    :)

  2. 11-9-2009

    So what you’re saying is that you want me to stop talking so much?

    :-)

  3. 11-9-2009

    Jeremiah,

    So far, that makes two of us who claim to talk too much. :)

    -Alan

  4. 6-13-2011

    I do not over talk but it is rare that I am quiet if I have an opportunity to fellowship with people.

    The first group I encountered out side of the formal church setting happened in my home but it started with just four of us and we were all equal.

    More recently the group I landed in averages about a dozen. Again everyone is equal. We took turns reading the scripture. Everyone was given an opportunity to share or respond to the text and what they felt it was saying to us.

    Flowing right from that to eating together or from eating right into worship and reading really helped gel the community aspect of the gatherings. Some of the quieter ones during the conversation sprang to life during meals or clean up.

    Meeting in different settings more than once a week brought it full circle. Some people need to feel more connected before they share or it takes a couple of times that they meet you.

    Lastly when you pray and release people to flow in the Holy Spirit, He will lead and guide the conversation. We don’t meet for us we meet for Him. There are things God wants to do and say through the Body when we gather.

  5. 6-13-2011

    ToscaSac,

    Thanks for the comment. I agree that including a meal (eating together) is a great way to include more people in the conversation and discussion.

    -Alan

  6. 10-23-2012

    Ekklesia participation is an occasion for neither grandstanding nor group therapy. It is about vertical and horizontal fellowship in Christ and with Christ according to the principles of mutual edification which build up the body of Christ toward maturity, fullness and completion in Him (Eph. 4). Practical ‘edification guidelines’ must be spelled out and followed under the direction of the elders. Learning to do this well will take time and patience with many reminders and trial-and-error attempts.

    We learn from Scripture that even in the supernatural realm of spiritual enlightenment and Spirit-given gifts there will be wiser and more discerning believers to whom we should show deference when they have something to say (e.g., Gal. 6:1: “you who are spiritual” and 1 Cor. 2:15: “the spiritual man”). At the same time, church gatherings should coach/encourage and mentor/cultivate younger believers to participate as valued members of God’s people, international ‘nation’ and royal priesthood who have also been called to “proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Pet. 2:9; 4:10).

    I believe NTRF has fleshed out many of the practical elements related to this and offers a variety of helpful resources for churches: http://www.ntrf.org/

    HOFCC.org has an open mic time during their meetings after the formal teaching by the elders. This is an opportunity for others to move in the gifts of the Spirit.

    Pastor Gregory K. Holladay provides discussion guides to solicit feedback, interaction and application of his sermons from the congregation on Sunday and throughout the week. Here’s one sample: http://www.thegfc.org/sermons/Eph%20Audio%20Sermons/EphSG/1023Eph01.01-02SG.pdf

  7. 10-24-2012

    Rick,

    I appreciate your comment, and I like the way that you describe participating with one another when we gather as the church. Of course, even the most mature and healthy Christian can miss the “vertical and horizontal fellowship in Christ” from time to time. So, I think it’s good to consider how to respond to a brother or sister who talks too much or too little.

    -Alan