I found an interesting article in “The Christian Chronicle” called “Who are we?” The article was by Bobby Ross, Jr. and was published in the March 2007 issue. The topic of the short article is non-institutional churches in the Churches of Christ denomination.
The article lists three different types of non-institutional churches in this denomination: 1) Non-class churches, 2) One cup churches, and 3) Mutual edification churches.
This is the description of the “mutual edification churches”:
Mutual edification churches comprise the smallest segment of non-mainstream congregations. The directory lists 124 of these congregations, mostly in the Midwest. Like many one-cup and non-class churches, mutual edification churches believe in allowing the men of the congregation to preach and lead singing, rather than hiring exclusive “preachers.”
But unlike the non-class and one-cup brethren, the mutual edification churches believe in Sunday school and multiple cups.
“Mutual edification or ministry to us means involving the members in an active ministry,” said Barry Poyner, an elder at the Kirksville, Mo., church and author of the book One Another Christianity: Mutual Edification. “I’m persuaded we are happier when active.”
He added: “I find that many churches cannot afford a full-time preacher even if they wanted one. The book is designed to get people to think about different models. … Mutual edification is a Bible-centered practice that could free up our ‘full-time’ ministers to do the work of evangelizing – reaching lost souls.”
Just for the record, the description above is NOT what I mean when I say “mutual edification.” Although, there are certainly some good things said in the description.
It is interesting what happens when people select certain labels to describe themselves. The label takes on the description of the group, instead of the group looking like the phrase used in the label.
What do you think?