Eric at “A Pilgrim’s Progress” asks a very important question in his post “Are Different Things Edifying for Different People?” He answers his own question with, “Yes!”
In his post, Eric focuses on the differences between people. And, people are different, both in their backgrounds and understandings and maturity, but they are also different in what they are currently going through in their life.
Because of these differences, Eric makes the following statements:
Since we are different people, we Christians likely are edified by different activities in different amounts, different ways, and in differing occasions. This can even vary from time to time for the individual. It certainly varies between people.
In light of these differences, church gatherings should have a great deal of variety to them. In the busyness of life it is easy to fall into the trap of the routine. Regardless of how churches tend to gather, they can end up doing the same things gathering after gathering. This may be edifying for some, but others may feel starved.
I agree. In fact, not only do I agree that different things are edifying to different people and that these different ways to edify are best brought out through different people serving and speaking when we gather together, I also think that different things are edifying to different people at different times. In other words, as people change, that which builds up (edifies) changes as well.
Now, don’t misunderstand me. Only those things which point back to Jesus Christ and encourage others to follow and trust him are edifying. However, there are many, many ways to point people to Jesus and to help them follow and trust him. And, for different people at different times, some things are more or less edifying.
One of my favorite passages related to gathering with other believers points to this:
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. (Hebrews 10:24-25 ESV)
If you read these verses in context (Hebrews 10:19-25), you’ll see that “considering one another” is one of the responses to the fact that we now have direct access to God through Jesus Christ. But, also notice that “considering one another” is the prerequisite (if you will) for gathering to encourage one another. Why must we “consider one another”? Because we are all different and because that which encourages/edifies may be different as well.
Are you considering one another and ready to encourage one another in whatever one another needs when you gather together?