the weblog of Alan Knox

Experimenting in Different Ways of Meeting Together?

Posted by on Dec 2, 2009 in blog links, gathering | 8 comments

Guy at “the M blog” tells a story about helping a church experience a different way of meeting together in a post called “Isn’t it time we gave the church back to Jesus?” After being invited to “preach their Sunday evening message,” Guy led the church in a time of mutual teaching and encouragement. After describing some of the things they did together, he recalls:

By then we had gone well over the “30 minutes” allotted sermon time, but nobody was eager to break up and go home. After TWO HOURS of open sharing and Spirit-led interaction, I turned the “service” back over to the pastor of the church. He stood, thanked me (didn’t he mean the Holy Spirit?) for leading them in a most “interesting” evening. Everyone was then asked to rearrange the chairs back into rows. The offering was collected, and the pastor announced that next week they would resume their regular message series. What we had just experienced was simply an interesting Sunday night special program, but was clearly not the norm for the church to continue to meet in this fashion.

In this post, I’m not as concerned about the things that Guy led the church in doing together that night. Instead, I would like us to consider something more general…

Is it good or bad for churches to experiment in different ways of meeting together?


8 Comments

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  1. 12-2-2009

    I think it’s good for churches to experiment in different ways of meeting together because they may find that “being the church” isn’t about how they traditionally conduct their meeting together as much as it is about simply “being together” as the Holy Spirit leads them on God’s mission. I love this deffinition of the Church from CMA Resources: “The Church is the presence of Jesus among His people, called out as a spiritual family to pursue His mission on this planet.”

  2. 12-3-2009

    As long as the experiments are based on the core values in Scripture, I think it is healthy and maybe even necessary. The core values i’m thinking of is; everybody have the chance to speak / share. No “lording-over” fellow brothers and sisters. The goal is to build up in a practical way, not only in words.

    Within those boundaries there are great freedom! But when you start building up hierarchy within the fellowship, buy big buildings with a goal to gather in large numbers every sunday – then it is time to ask those important questions about the core values.

    Many house fellowships have gone into this classical trap when growth has taken place.

    And hello by the way, this is my first comment on your site! I’m a regular reader from Norway, and have been for a while. Thank you so much for your insight :) I really appreciate the way you share your experience from real life!

  3. 12-3-2009

    For me it is not so much a matter of whether it is good or bad for churches to experiment in different ways of meeting; as it is a matter of it WILL happen if Jesus is leading those gatherings.

  4. 12-3-2009

    Jonathan (jgrubbs),

    Yeah. I’ve found that something changes in the way that I think about my brothers and sisters and my responsibilities toward them when we meet in a nontraditional way.

    Ruben,

    Thank you for reading and commenting! I agree with your core values, however I know that many churches and church leaders don’t agree that those are core scriptural values of meeting together, or they don’t believe that those values are important or beneficial. I think that experimenting in these areas can be helpful.

    Guy,

    I agree with you. However, many churches and church leaders will say that Jesus is leading their gatherings. I think the point I’m trying to make is that Jesus can also lead different kinds of gatherings, and believers may find those types of gatherings of be more beneficial to health of the church. But, it would take (what they would consider) experimenting with different forms of meeting together.

    -Alan

  5. 12-3-2009

    I think it’s a good idea for churches to “experiment” with different ways of meeting IF they are open to the possibility that the Spirit may lead them to continue in a way that they are not used to. Trying out different things shouldn’t be done just for the sake of being different, or to present a “special” program.

  6. 12-3-2009

    Fred,

    Good point. In Guy’s article, I don’t think the church (or at least the pastor) was ready to make that commitment.

    -Alan

  7. 8-19-2012

    Just to interject a point here. We need to be careful about “letting the Holy Spirit lead”. That at times has gotten the church (those who have trusted in the Lord Jesus in trouble. The Holy Spirit does not lead outside of Scripture. I am not saying that a believer is not lead by the Holy Spirit…I am saying that we need to be careful not to step outside of scripture. Thank you for letting me add a little to this.
    The Lord bless and lead your hearts in submission to HIS will. That is the only blessed place to be….

  8. 8-19-2012

    Vickie,

    We can never go wrong letting the Holy Spirit lead us. We go wrong when we do not follow the Holy Spirit. Obviously, we can made decisions that we think are from the Spirit but which are not. Scripture can help us there, and other believers can help us as well. But, again, we never go wrong following the Spirit.

    -Alan