| The great tragedy of the Sunday morning service|
I thought I would put my thoughts from the other thread together, might be useful for someone to flesh out some issues............
The great tragedy of the Sunday morning service!
The most important crisis facing the Body of Christ is the Sunday morning service. It really helps to know a little bit about the history of the early church and what it looked like. For the most part it would be in houses or for special occasions if there was more than one house gathering in a town or city, they would come together in an open field, especially if someone like Paul was coming. The gathering was just that, and there was a meal. Breaking bread meant just that, it did not mean a communion wafer and a ritualized affair. People were actually together, hanging out, singing hymns, sharing, giving testimony, asking for prayer. This thing called "the church service," is something that morphed out of that. Bottom line, it really was not that complicated, the most important aspect of the gathering was that the Holy Spirit was there, Jesus was preeminent.
Can this be changed? Not in any meaningful way. I do believe however that the time is coming soon when the enemy will tear down every religious building in the world that will not bow down to him, only then I believe will the Body of Christ return to its roots, by necessity. If we were to take the pastor out of the average church in America, the congregation would be at a total loss. For centuries they have taken on the role of spectator and not participant and this has rendered them, for the most part, impotent and reliant upon "the guy at the front," and not the Holy Spirit.
Oh how I would love the problem that the Corinthian church had in their midst and Paul had to correct. Everybody had a tongue or a word or a spiritual song or a prophecy. Paul wrote and told them to limit it to two or three of this and two or three of that and let there be order in all of it. You can take a wild man, full of life, and tone down his behavior, but what can you do with a dead man? What would your church service look like if there were two or three tongues and then interpretations. Then two or three prophecies, then two or three songs initiated not by a "worship leader," as part of a practiced program but by the Holy Spirit Himself through the vessels of His choice. I think I am safe in assuming it may not look like anything you have ever seen, but there it is, laid out, in the Scriptures, directions from God how to conduct our Sunday gatherings.
Part of the problem is that the vast majority of churches not only do not practice the gifts but do not even believe in them, so there would be no chance of a reverting to 1 Cor 14. The very service itself for the most part, has a design that would make it impossible for most congregations to gather in a Biblical fashion ( 1 Cor 14) even if they wanted to. So we are talking about something very radical here, very primitive, something that would counter endless centuries of the traditions of man. It now seems like if we were to return to the order of worship that was first laid down for us, it would take a revolution to bring it to pass.
But lets suppose we do have a willing congregation. What would that look like? Well, some of us may remember the different kinds of professors at college. Some were great teachers and many were not. They all had qualifications, but clearly there were teachers that you could tell were called to their profession. The best professors always included the whole class. They elicited questions on whatever the subject at hand was and through those questions and the response of the class, we were taught. These classes were always invigorating and these teachers had a great skill at keeping the class on topic because in every class there were always left fielders who would ask unrelated questions. To me, this would be the gifting of an elder or teacher in a 1 Cor 14 setting, gifted by the Holy Spirit to do what secular institutions do all the time.
We have fleshed this out. We had a series of meetings in Missouri a few years ago. People came from all over the country. There were many pastors there. We had three days of meetings without any agenda at all. We would start around 8 or 9am, gathered around in a large circle and someone would open with a prayer and a Scripture. 12 hours later we would finish. Throughout the course of a day there would be singing, praying, sharing, testimony, laying on of hands and none of it was scheduled, the Holy Spirit was our leader. Now, if a group of men and woman from varying backgrounds, mostly pastors ( who can be the most difficult to deal with because they are used to being in charge) can yield and follow the leading of the Lord through His Holy Spirit for 12 hours, how easy would it be to have this kind of service on a Sunday morning for a few hours or however long it lasted? Not difficult. It is not about the degree of difficulty, it is about yielding and surrendering to the Holy Spirit and having Jesus preeminent in the meeting. Ultimately it is about obedience. Scripture is our touchstone, it is from Scripture that we stand or fall. How does your Sunday morning service compare to 1 Cor 14. Not at all? Why not? ..............bro Frank
| 2018/5/2 16:25|
| Re: The great tragedy of the Sunday morning service|
Franks post otherwise re titled "How to shrink your congregation to only 20 people in weeks".
Troubling questions will arise.
1. Where will the spectators go?
2. Where do you put tithes and offerings when there is no building fund, no improvement projects, no light/water/gas/phone/internet/ or property taxes?
3. What do you do when God is silent that day and no one has anything to say?
4. What expectations are you putting on one another to conform to right doctrine? To godliness? To witnessing? To serving the community?
5. What do you do when some want to leave and start their own group?
6. Is 12hours a minimum for service time? Is it 4 hours? Or do we relegate a full day like a Sabbath to meeting, prayer, study, sharing and ministering to one another?
7. What If I want to go home and watch TV after an hour of listening to sister so and so droll on about her mean mom?
I personally think a reversion to this kind of setting would be a tremendous step forward in discipleship, but people are people; they are messy, sinful, stupid, problematic, full of themselves and yet our answer here is to 'give these people a place to be themselves'.
On the surface Frank what your propose is wonderful, dive anything deeper than 1 inch and you will encounter everything I said and much more.
The Church is not about display of gifts, its never been about what we all have to say to one another ( though that's a part of it) its not about confessing our weaknesses ( though that's a part of it), the Church is always been about Jesus living through us his divine purpose for us.
To me, when the Holy Spirit gets involved, some of it contains gift ministry, preaching and praying, but some of it is also the opportunity and challenge to love on a level that we only talk about ( and that from a very safe distance).
By the way, when will we be taught the scriptures if we all just arrive with our own ideas about things?
Who will keep Jesus preeminent in the meeting? Is it an unwritten decorum or is it done by a leader?
Please don't interpret this as a wet blanket on the subject, but I hope a reality check and in my opinion why this sort of thing never moves past 'romantic idealism state'.
| 2018/5/2 19:17||Profile|
| Re: |
I recommend to all that a careful reading of 1 Corinthians will give anyone interested a worldwide reproducible plan of God to build His church focusing on the right foundation, Christ and Him crucified, the right "stones" for the structure, the right unifying cement of brotherly love and the cleanliness of the house of God respecting the undesired presence of sin.
Into such a spiritual building, the presence of God is pleased to fall and dwell.
Likewise, the way of worship in that "building" is also fully described in this epistle.
We need to whole heartedly trust God's declaration of the church and its communal ways rather than strategizing. God has a plan, unfortunately, men develop strategies.
| 2018/5/2 19:37||Profile|
| Re: |
Wow! It’s really sad so many folks have to stereotype to make their point. I don’t know if you’ve been living under a rock or listening to, to many self-righteous people. I personally know of many churches doing a wonderful job, of presenting the gospel of Jesus Christ. I will say this and you can air it out here, quit your Stereotyping unless you have absolute proof of what every church on this planet is doing. It’s really sad that people let old slue foot work through them to stereotype people, because the church is THE PEOPLE, and I don’t appreciate this because I’m one of these PEOPLE that make up the church. I’ve said all I have to say on this thread, I pray that God will soften the hearts of these folks that Stereotype all brothers and sisters in Christ.
| 2018/5/2 19:44||Profile|
| Re: |
Glory and Grace. Your questions are legitimate WHEN AND IF you are comparing the body to what is called "church" in our day and time. Man has put forth a system and said THIS IS CHURCH when in all reality it is only the tip of the ice berg... partial truth imo. It can serve a purpose... the good... not the best.
Man has put a cement foundation on the definition of "church" when it should be tent pegs. Man has turned the gifts into salaried careers. The wind of the Spirit is not that.
Jesus only had 12 in His circle for His everyday life and theirs... Yes, he met on the lake shore, fields, synagogues on occasion in great numbers, but where the rubber met the road for daily life was in His circle of 12. So, your questions in the context of His small circle may not be such a big issue as one might expect. They operated as a family unit not a congregation gathering one day a week for a meeting.
| 2018/5/2 19:48||Profile|
| Re: |
Truly sorry if it sounds like I'm stereotyping. I used to live in the US and have a fairly broad experience to the churches there and I now live in Cambodia strengthening churches in villages around the country. Additionally I have traveled to many areas of the world doing the same work. You would be surprised at the continuity of the church traditions that have developed in the west and made their way east and south. Its a systemic problem which implies it is widespread but certainly does not imply it is universal. So, my comments are directed at the general and not the exceptional. When I survey the book of Acts and the Epistles and look at the churches I'm very familiar with, I see a discrepancy which I have come to conclude can be traced to tradition and a minimal presence of the Holy Spirit. Many of you who love the church and the bride would be sincerely saddened. I'm not trying to come off as judge or holier than thou, but rather as a very interested and concerned observer of what was and what is.
| 2018/5/2 20:13||Profile|
| Re: Robert|
Robert, I only come back to let you know, my comments were not directed towards you, sorry for the confusion.
| 2018/5/2 20:41||Profile|
| Re: |
Brother Bill: Well, it seems my humor and sarcasm didn't get translated into my post. ( I take it you meant me as far as stereotyping)
Sorry if it came off as a resistance to Frank's post.
I was hoping that in my questions you could see improvement in the Churches situation.
1. You are able to help people step out of the spectator, silent in and out mentality.
2. Instead of buying a 3.5 million dollar building, the funds could actually go to help those in need.
3. Silence in teaching does not mean God is silent, it maybe prayer is the necessity, not teaching.
4. Prayer and dedication to worship, to Jesus as Lord gives God room to speak to hearts that would not hear him otherwise, the living room is a prime place for Jesus to speak to his people.
5. The body should be encouraged to start new groups, to branch out, to gather other believers and unsaved ones. Its a good thing to multiply.
6. It isn't time that matters, it's coming together to meet Jesus and find his love and the Church's love together. Whether it takes hours or all day or just an hour, the point is meeting Christ together. Time actually flies pretty fast when the Spirit of God is moving.
7. The cure for indifference and apathy is not 'getting out of here' its learning to bear one another burdens, in such a small group you get to practice that and feel what that means.
The questions I gave appear at the start-up of such a meeting, but they are answered in time as the mature believers relate in words and actions what it's like to live out your faith.
The morphing of a group from silence, indifference, worldliness, impatience to opening up to God and to one another comprises both gifting and burden bearing, it comprises teaching and counseling, caring and correcting.
The gifts and word-ministry are for a purpose, they are not the end-all. Though in our modern assemblies it becomes the end-all, I don't see scripture as prioritizing the means above the ends.
What is the goal? Is it not living out the life of Jesus in every aspect of our personal lives? What is preaching for? It is for that purpose. What are the gifts for? They are for building up the body so that it can fully function as Jesus designed and purposed his people to live and enjoy him.
Along the way Brother Bill, we all stumble, we all blow it, we get mad, or discouraged or encounter unbelief in our selves, or cynicism, or doubts and fears. We encounter sins in others not just in our selves, we face battles with people who never had anyone battle with them in the spirit.
The ugliness of our carnal nature is eventually exposed and its not pretty, so when it is exposed and we know it will eventually fall to our lot that MY sin and weaknesses are exposed...do I still want to be a part of something like that? With my whole heart I say YES. I want to be loved for who I really am, not what you all think I am.
This love is the bond, it makes for peace among believers where among unbelievers it makes for walls and justification/barriers.
This is the heart of my post, it's not about what we see with our eyes and hear with our ears...the ugliness of humanity, its our faith and love being worked out by being obedient to the word preached, prophesied and counseled into our hearts. This to me is golden.
| 2018/5/2 20:48||Profile|
| Re: |
Marvin, I wrote..........
"Can this be changed? Not in any meaningful way."
I dont have a romantic bone in my body Marvin nor am I naive, what I do have is the word of God. I Cor 14 is God speaking to His people, everything else is just noise. I dont consider you a wet blanket Marivn nor would it move me if you were, been around the block too many times for that. There are wet blankets and angry bitter little men but I have learned to ignore them. I agree, how to shrink your congregation would be a good alternative title :) ...........Bro Frank
| 2018/5/2 21:15|
| Re: |
Robert, you write.........
"Many of you who love the church and the bride would be sincerely saddened. I'm not trying to come off as judge or holier than thou, but rather as a very interested and concerned observer of what was and what is."
Totally agree with that Robert, the problem is that there are some people who have no idea what you are talking about and have to resort to all that they know. Any time this subject comes up you will be criticized. The devil has no intention of the Body of Christ breaking out of their traditional boxes, after all, it was he who put them there. Religion versus reality. The god of this world has any number of critics lines up, but the God of all has His people everywhere, God bless you Robert..........bro Frank
| 2018/5/2 21:22|