The way we do church

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by Tim, Mar 30, 2003.

  1. Tim

    Tim
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    It seems like the typical church service today is pretty different from the synagogue style meetings from which they were originally derived.

    Originally, didn't several different speakers comment upon Scripture followed by questions and discussion from other men?

    Have we lost something by simply sitting and silently listening to the same man speak week after week?

    Interested in your opinions,

    Tim
     
  2. Sherrie

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    That is interesting Tim. I would like it better if we didn't just sit there.

    Sherrie
     
  3. Aaron

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    Hi, Tim. I would hesitate to conclude a cause and effect relationship based simply on the outward appearances. We have a divine prescription for worship in 1 Corinthians. Synagogue worship was never prescribed.

    But...

    Yes, you are right. I believe a multiplicity of elders/pastors. [​IMG]
     
  4. Ben W

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    You are right Tim, that church was certainley done differently when it was first begun. I think that one of the main reasons we are not more effective in evangalism, is that we can lose our "community" focus.

    We should be more like a Co=operative assemply rather than a going through the motions assembly.

    I think a worthwile study for any church that is looking at what God is trying to say to them, would be to look at the Early Church, and how we can be more like that in the positive sense.
     
  5. Rebecca9557

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    Hi--I'm a new person. This is my very first post.
    (I'll put a little autobio in the welcome place.)

    This is a topic that I've thought about quite a bit (for better or worse). Here's my most recent scenario: yesterday morning we drove an hour to visit a new church, a large "independent, fundamental, Bible believing" Baptist church in the heart of a large city. We sat near the back where we could observe the backs of about two hundred well-dressed peoples' heads. We nodded in agreement as the pastor spoke about a familiar passage of Scripture. Then we stood at the end of the aisle watching dozens of people file past us. Some smiled; two or three introduced themselves. Then we went home.

    SOMETHING IS WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE!!!
     
  6. stubbornkelly

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    Honestly, this is why I like attending Quaker meetings for worship. Different people speak as they are led during the first hour, we break and then come back for discussion. There is no "main speaker" and the meeting is always different.
     
  7. BM

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    We have a small church but during the Sunday School class we all take turns reading the lesson then we are allowed to comment on it if we wish. Also same on our Wednesday night Bible study. It makes people study more and you get different ideas. Works out real well!
     
  8. Dr. Bob

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    The way we do church is a far cry from Acts, that's for sure. James Rutz "Open Church" is must reading for those who are interested in a return (as much as culturally possible) to NT church instead of the games we play.

    http://www.hisplace.com/hpcf/Library/BeChurch.html
     
  9. Rebecca9557

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    For several years we held an active Bible study in our home. Sometimes as many as 20 people (including children) came to it. We sat in a close circle, discussing the Scriptures together, and as we discussed, some issues on people's hearts would often come out or some areas in which they were confused, and others would be able to help them right there on the spot--keeping in mind that at least one man (the main teacher) would be there to gently correct anything wrong that was stated and to keep the discussion on track. I began to get the sense more and more that this is the way church is supposed to be all the time. Right now, the way we do "church," I feel like "church" is just something to get done so we can get on to the real business of the Christian life. Too cynical?
     
  10. Bro. James Reed

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    I don't understand, is there only one speaker, who speaks every week? Like, the pastor will preach every single week? :confused:
     
  11. Rebecca9557

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    Kelly, my grandmother was a Quaker, and my understanding--correct me if I'm wrong--is that in Quaker meetings anybody can say anything with no one to say them nay, even if what they're saying is unscriptural. That doesn't seem right, but the general idea seems more on track of what it seems like the Lord wants us to have.

    Dr. Bob, I looked at the website you recommended, and the church seemed to have some very good ideas, but it also seemed charismatic, which I'm not. (I hope I don't step on any toes with that statement.) The only churches I've seen personally that have promoted what they call "Body Life" have been ones that don't care about doctrine (because they believe that it divides, which indeed it does). A local home church here that emphasized "body life" let a man get up and speak about how we should all be vegatarians because God doesn't want us killing animals, and he wrenched some verse out of context to make his point, and nobody in the church set him straight. Maybe that's the kind of thing churches are trying to avoid by having one authoritative man up front, but it just seems to me that there must be a better way.
     
  12. swaimj

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    Been taking a seminary class on I & II Corinthians. In Acts, we find a heavy emphasis on preaching both within and outside church gatherings. I think there are services in which this should be emphasized. But the Corinthians had a differenct model. In 14:26, Paul says "...When you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification." Without getting into a discussion of which spiritual gifts are active today, it seems that the Corinthians had a variety of activities taking place in their services, they had a variety of people with something to say, and their services were interactive rather than one person speaking to everyone else. Paul does not condemn them for this at all. A little variety in our services would seem to be a good thing.
     
  13. Rebecca9557

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    Bro. James, is that not the scenario you're used to? That's the way it is in probably 99% of the churches in America.
     
  14. Ben W

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    Rebecca9557,

    Keep on looking, im sure you will find the right fellowship soon.

    I would suggest going against the norm, and looking for a church that states that they have a "Congregational" system.

    Seventh Day Baptist Churches are "Congregational". Meaning that the Congregation participate fully in the running of the meeting and Bible Study. The members use the pulpit to preach, and we often have "Tag Team" preaching which is alot of fun.
     
  15. Bro. James Reed

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    Well...no. We have several Elders who hold appointments at our church. Meaning: Our Pastor currently has 2 Sundays a month to preach at our church. An Elder from Lousiana has another, and a Liberated brother has the 4th. This allows our Pastor to travel and visit other PB churches, to better fellowship with them.

    BTW, I'm not sure if everyone is familiar with the term "liberated." It describes a brother in a church who has been seen to possess a gift to preach. His church will "liberate" him to preach around so other churches and Elders will witness the same gift. Once he has been proven not to be a novice in the scriptures, his church will call for his ordination as an Elder.

    Anyway, that is how the vast majority of PB churches hold services. A different preacher, at least 1 - 2 Sundays a month.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  16. Thankful

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    Welcome Rebecca 9557 We are glad to meet you and look forward to more posts from you.

    I am curious to how you would want this picture changed. Many times in a large church, people do not know who the visitors are. I did leave a large church because no one seemed to know me after five years, but it was my own fault because at first I wanted to be like a sponge and just soak in the services and not take part.

    I left for a small church where I can serve and be a part of the worship service.

    Our church is small, but I still do not know all the members. If they don't have a visitor's name tag, then I don't know that they are visitors.

    I do not get to mingle with the congregation very much as I play the organ while they are coming into the sanctuary and while they are leaving.

    Is this what you meant?

    We have a visitors greeting time which some people like and some don't. Our pastor does preach on Sunday morning without much interaction with the congregation except singing and prayer, but on Sunday evenings, it is less formal and he asked questions and we are allowed to ask or answer questions during the sermon time.
     
  17. Gina B

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    The services as far as church time are pretty much standard. During Sunday school is more of an interactive learning time, and Sunday nights people are free to ask questions I believe, and the lesson is geared more toward learning/growing/studying than Sunday mornings, which are more of a praise/worship/witnessing type service. The pastor speaks (usually)for the am church service.
    I have no problem with it. After Sunday school we go in, sing, announcements, say hello to everyone, something like that. Everyone scoots together and holds hands during the first prayer, I hated it at first but now it's ok because it seems more friendly and united that way. Pastor speaks, invitation, we go home. For a while I was dissatisfied with the "monotony" of this style in churches, but have recently come to appreciate it and learned that it's only monotonous if I sit there and don't participate, spiritually. If I don't let the Holy Spirit work in me it's just more boring words, but if I truly listen with an open heart I can get something out of the sermon even if I've heard the same words a million times before. The pastor is using the word of God, and it's LIVING, so it's always fresh and something to be learned. Do you feel that when you read your bible? You can read the same passage over and over, but the more you do the deeper the meaning of it, it never is something that you can't learn something new from.
    Also, I think there would be a degree of concern during worship time if whoever wanted to participate did. It could be confusing. Most visitors don't come for Sunday school, so that's a better place to say what's on your mind. Churches now even TRY to get unsaved people in, so it could even be dangerous to have people speaking whose words haven't been checked out and approved beforehand, as newcomers will take it at face value and think it's what the whole church believes.
    Gina
     
  18. Thankful

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    I agree, Gina.

    Recently, I asked my husband: "Is our pastor preaching better or is it just me? He has really improved."

    Husband replied, "Must be you Betty , he has always preached this way." [​IMG]

    What we get out of a worship service is many times based on our frame of mind and our attitude.
     
  19. Tim

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    My criticism of the typical church service in the original post isn't really focused on whether the preacher preached a good sermon or not--rather it's about the format of the meeting.

    We have largely become a church of passive observers, an audience at a program. When the weekly program is over we greet a few friends and go home.

    The church may have additional services during the week--most seem similarly superficial, requiring little real involvement in each others lives and little discussion of spiritual struggles which we all have, but few would admit to (because we're not that close--hence the frequency of "unspoken" prayer requests).

    In short, there's little meaningful interaction among the members in a typical church. We go there to hear the preacher, the music, etc.--not so much to edify, exhort, etc. each other. I think the format is a big part of that problem.

    In Christ,

    Tim
     
  20. Speedpass

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    I'll have to admit that "the way churches do church" is why I have struggled to find a church I can most comfortably fit into during the past 3-4 years.

    My beef with liturgical churches is that saying the Lord's Prayer and singing the Doxology every Sunday can become very rote, predictable, and dry.

    On the other hand I have attended "contemporary" style worship, and my beef there is that the same choruses/songs tend to be sung Sunday after Sunday--again causing worship to become rote, predictable, and dry.

    Finally, in many churches I've been to everyone talks to everyone else about 10-15 minutes before the service begins--then the first thing we're expected to do after the minister welcomes everyone is to stand up and greet each other. To me that is "duplicating the effort" since we've been talking to one another for 10-15 minutes beforehand. :confused:
     

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