For the last few days, I’ve published several posts about the important of mutual edification when the church gathers together. I think this (i.e., mutual edification) had in mind when Paul wrote, “When you come together… let all things be done for edification.” (1 Corinthians 14:26 ESV)
This type of edification is not the work of one person or even a small group of people among the church. Instead, mutually edification is a work of the whole church helping one another grow in maturity in Jesus Christ. Neither solo-edification (one person building up others) nor self-edification (one person building up him or herself) is the same as mutual edification.
However – and let’s be honest – usually when believers gather together, they are not allowed to take part in the work of building up one another. Instead, a person (or group of people) in an official capacity decide who can or who cannot take part in the gathering of the church. In other words, in many (perhaps most) cases, most followers of Jesus Christ are not allowed to take part in mutual edification in most church gatherings, even if they wanted to.
So, what should these people do, assuming that they want to take part in mutual edification? Is it best to ignore the leaders’ plans and interrupt the service in order to take part? No, probably not. Is it best to remain passive and not work to build up the church? No, that’s not best either.
My suggestion is to begin with prayer, study, and examination of your own motives. Then, speak carefully and humbly with the positional officials, explaining your concerns.
But, remember this: mutual edification can and should take place any time we gather with other believers. If it cannot take place in one gather, then gather in another location or on another occasion. What do I mean? I mean invite a few close friends to your house or to a restaurant or to a coffee shop or to a park. Explain that you need to hear from them – you want to know what God is doing in their lives – you want to learn from what they’re going through. And, of course, you should seek to help them grow as well.
It is not your responsibility to convince everyone that you are correct. So, explain your position / concerns, but then live in the way that God is calling you to live. Begin to both teach and learn from your brothers and sisters in Christ whenever you are with them. Speak to them and listen to them. Sacrifice your own plans in order to join others in their life.
Are you getting together with one other brother or sister in Christ? Then build each other up. Are you gathering with just a few? Then edify one another. Are you having lunch with some other believers? Encourage each other.
Like Paul said, “Whenever you come together… let everything be done for edification.” If you can’t build up each other in one meeting, then get together at other times.