Imagine for a moment that every time I saw my daughter I told her that I loved her. Then I hit her as hard as I could. Would she believe that I loved her? No. Why? Because my actions speak louder than my words.
Or, what if I told everyone that I met that it is very important to me to eat healthy foods. Then, after telling them that, I begin eating junk food, fast food, fatty foods, etc. What would people think? Would they think that I truly cared about eating healthily? No. Why? Because my actions speak louder than my words.
We know this is true of us as individuals. We know that our beliefs are truly demonstrated by what we do, not by what we say. But, what about the church? Is this true of the church as well?
Now, think about the way that most churches meet together. Think about what is done and who does it. Think about what is said and who says it.
If we tell people that God indwells all his children and that the Spirit can reveal the truth in the Scriptures to any believer, but they only see one person teaching Scripture week in and week out, what will they think we truly believe?
If we tell people that they are all gifted by the Spirit to speak and serve in such a way as to benefit the church, but only certain people are allowed to speak or serve when we meet together, what will people think we truly believe?
If we tell people that they are a family and that community is important but also force them to sit quietly facing a stage, what will they think we truly believe?
I could ask similar questions concerning discipleship, money, leadership, etc. Our meetings demonstrate what we truly believe about these things. What we do when we meet together show what we believe more than the words that we say.
Do you want to know why people think that their pastor is the most important person in the church? Look at our meetings. Do you want to know why people think we are so concerned about money? Look at our meetings. What we do speaks louder than what we say.
If the church wants to demonstrate that people are important, that the church needs everyone for spiritual growth, that God indwells and gifts each of his children, then the way we meet must reflect these truths.