I’ve enjoyed reading Chris’s blog “The Amplified Life.” He writes about both concepts and practices. I love that!
One of his latest posts is called “Open Sharing in a More Traditional Setting.”
Chris admits at the beginning of the post that they are the typical traditional church in America. But, recently, they’ve started allow others in the church the opportunity to speak.
Here is part of his description:
Whenever we begin the sharing time I open by saying, “Does anyone have any words of encouragement, testimonies, praises or prayer requests? What is God doing in our lives?” I specifically use that order because (1) I want people to be encouraged to share their “God stories” with the community; (2) it is important for others to hear what God is doing around us; (3) and while prayer is a great gift and very important, I don’t want it to turn into “Please pray for my aunt’s, nephew’s, brother’s, son’s, best friend’s sister’s pet gerbil.”
For the first few months we received mostly, if not all prayer requests. But then gradually we began to have others share some testimony. Then others would share a word of encouragement. Now, through the Holy Spirit’s guidance, it has taken on a life of it’s own. Sometimes we have taken 10-15 minutes during our “traditional” worship time to share what God has done and is doing and what we are praying to see God do. the feedback from the community is that it has become or is becoming one of their favorite aspects of our corporate gathering.
Now, I know that some of my readers are part of more organic churches that allow participation by anyone while they are meeting together. But, while you may think this group of believers has a long way to go, don’t overlook the fact that they are moving in a direction that is contrary to the traditional church in America.
And why are they doing this? Just for the sake of changing and being different? No! They are making this change because they believe it better aligns with what they’ve found in Scripture. (Chris talks about some of these passages of Scripture in his post.)
I praise God that these people have decided that it’s important for a larger part of the church to take part in the meetings, and they’ve started moving in that direction!
Do you know of other traditional churches who have made this kind of change, or one similar to it?