After the sermon, I simply asked, “Do you have any questions or comments?” Everyone was quiet at first. After about 15 seconds, one man made a positive comment about the passage we had just studied. After that, no one said anything. We then concluded the gathering with a song and prayer.
Why would Eric (and I) be excited by one comment? Because it is a movement toward more mutual edification.
You see, Scripture calls us to build up one another in the context of the church gathering together (1 Corinthians 14:26 and Hebrews 10:24-25 are two examples). Scripture never tells the elders that it is their responsibility to instruct people when the church gathers together, then everyone else’s responsibility at other times. These are distinctions that we’ve placed on our meetings.
So, if it our right and responsibility as followers of Jesus to exhort, edify, teach, admonish, etc. one another, then we need to give one another opportunities to do this when the church gathers.
Now, I’m not in favor of speaking just for the purpose of speaking. Simply having a discussion or a question and answer session is not necessarily a good thing nor is it necessarily a scriptural thing. Instead, we should allow one another to speak for the purpose of building up one another toward maturity in Christ.