If you compare contemporary church meetings with how they did church in the New Testament, you will notice that something seems to be missing nowadays. What’s the difference between the early church and the modern-day church?
Paul compares the New Testament church to a human body, having many members (body parts) with many different, but very necessary and important, functions. However, if you attend a 21st Century church, you will notice that there are only two or three minor roles (reading Scripture, making announcements, etc.) and one major role (directing the meeting and speaking). The rest of the members are required to mainly sit and watch the proceedings.
The New Testament model, however, (see 1 Corinthians 14:26) is more like a support group rather than a program. Members are not only allowed, but depended on, to participate by openly sharing Scriptures, testimonies, prayers, words of encouragement, and whatever else the Holy Spirit prompts them to.
When people watch something they receive entertainment and/or information. However, when people actively participate in something they receive experience, excitement, confidence, skill, personal and spiritual growth, and maturity.
When numerous people participate in a meeting an amazing thing happens — God’s Presence and direction is demonstrated as the various contributions from various people blend together into a beautiful symphony of divine origin. The realm of humanly organized and programmed church meetings is transcended and God, Himself, takes over. Awe comes rushing into the room.
There are few, if any, inactive members in a healthy human body. Almost every human body part has an active role to play. If body parts stop functioning in their roles, the body becomes sick and eventually dies. So with the church.
Church is not intended to be a memorial to Christ. It is not supposed to be a Christian monument in memory of past miracles. God designed church to be a living demonstration of His present day power and glory.
Maybe it is time for the church to rechurch — to recharge — to revive the New Testament church order of open participation and sharing. If you would like to see a participatory church meeting in person visit: The Salvation Army Berry Street — 225 Berry Street — Nashville — 37207 — Sun. @ 10:45 am. &/or Thurs. @ 6:30 pm.