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Questions on church gatherings

I’ve got lots of questions, here’s a series of questions I’ve been pondering lately on church gatherings – and by that I mean that thing folks do in the New Testament when they get together.

What do you call yours?  I was going to say Sunday gathering, but lots of folks don’t meet on Sundays. Worship service came to mind, but ain’t all life worship? and are we really being serviced?

Last sunday I did a collaborative message in silence (You can read about when I did it last before here).  If you brought me into your church to ‘preach’ and all I did was help Christ be formed in them one of the best ways I know how, would you be disappointed?

With the centrality of Scripture, and it being text, content, information (and yes, Story for you emergent folks, and the Living Word of God for you fundies), I wonder if we’ve overemphasized it’s generally unidirectional mode of communication in our own practices?

Does ‘the gospel’ need to be proclaimed with every gathering?

Could the full weight of the gospel ever be transmitted this side of life?

Could we compress the gospel to a 140-character tweet and spend the rest of our time living it out?

How much literal reading of the Scripture do you do?  Things vary for us, but typically we collectively read a mix of passages following a lectionary, and I tend to expound on a short text.  Some folks want full exposure to the breadth of the Bible, others don’t want to gloss over it and hone in.

Does the Pareto principle of 20% of the people doing 80% of the ‘work’ apply to your gathering?

Do we really need to gather weekly?  versus daily or monthly?

What does God desire for us collectively as we gather?  And are there elements in our worship gathering that don’t contribute towards that?

{ 2 comments… add one }

  • Chris from Canada March 26, 2009, 9:22 am

    Awesome questions – love it! Here are some (partial) answers –

    What do you call yours? I was going to say Sunday gathering, but lots of folks don’t meet on Sundays. Worship service came to mind, but ain’t all life worship? and are we really being serviced?

    A gathering is a gathering. A service is a service. Ever been to a party with no reason to party? It’s a waste of time. The church gathers together for lots of things (social, relational, etc) but when they gather together for a service it’s very unique and distinct. The service is not for us, it is for God – we come together as part of our serving Him and His Kingdom.

    Yes, all life is worship. But there are certain kinds of worship which can only happen by the church gathering together in service.

    Does ‘the gospel’ need to be proclaimed with every gathering?

    Isn’t the gathering itself part of the proclamation? We are declaring that there is no event, no schedule, no thing more important at that moment in time then bringing ourselves together as the redeemed body of Christ to remember, celebrate, worship, hear about and commit ourselves to the great work of God.

    That, for me, is a big motivation in seeing churches grow – that the statement to our community and our culture of this “redeemed community” would grow in numbers and influence. The gathering itself speaks to those around us that we have been redeemed and brought in to new life. That is, I believe, proclamation in itself.

    Could the full weight of the gospel ever be transmitted this side of life?

    Clearly we could say that enough of the gospel can be transmitted to have transformational impact in the lives of sinners and saints. Isn’t that enough?

    Could we compress the gospel to a 140-character tweet and spend the rest of our time living it out?

    If God found it fit to reveal the gospel in 66 books then I think we should spend time learning the whole story 🙂

    ..

    Some great questions. Thanks for asking them! I’ll check back to see if there are other answers.

  • Lon March 27, 2009, 7:13 am

    great comments Chris, and totally agree, there is something unique about the church gathering together in service..

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