Is a church service with only one speaker like a band with only one instrument? (That’s an oxymoron, isn’t it?) Jesus said: “New wine must be poured into new wine skins.” If we want the new wine of the Holy Spirit, perhaps we need the new wine skin of open, participatory church.
What does it mean to gather in Jesus name? Jesus said: “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” There are two main ways people can gather:
- People can gather as an audience to passively watch a presenter or a program.
- People can gather as a team to actively work and interact together.
Which way did Jesus mean? The Greek word for gathered in Jesus’ statement is synēgmenoi and one of the definitions I found is: “to join together, join in one.”
Here are the verses before it:
“Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”
In contexts it appears that Jesus is referring to people gathering to: 1) work together in binding and loosing; and 2) actively come to a sense of agreement.
Historically and traditionally, church has gathered (and still does) as a passive audience. But what if Jesus intended for His people to be actively and interactively involved when we meet in His name. Paul confirms this concept in 1 Corinthians 14:26 when he says: “When you come together, each of you has . . .” something to share with the group.
The Greek word in Matthew 16:18 where Jesus is quoted as saying, “I will build My church,” is ekklesia. Ekklesia was the name for the governing body of Greek-city states. It was an open, participatory, interactive body that gathered to work together to make decisions (binding and loosing) on behalf of the city.
Because of this, it seems that Jesus promised to be with us when we gather to work together as a team, not when we gather to just be a passive audience. What do you think?
Going beyond a passive audience to a interactive team is as easy as 1,2,3.
1) Gather with some Christ-followers;
2) Let everyone listen to God.
3) Let them share what they hear.
For more, check out my new book: Beyond Church: The Lost Word Of The Bible–Ekklesia available on Amazon at this link.