Every Christian has something significant to contribute when we gather. The problem is, are we set up for everyone to contribute? Is that even possible?
In Part 1 of Assembly Required we addressed the topic of what Christians assembling is meant to produce. We talked about mutual-edification and manifesting Christ. In Part 2 we are going to look more practically at how an assembly could produce those results.
For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot says, "Because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body," it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body...If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be?...And the eye cannot say to the hand, "I have no need of you"; or again the head to the feet, "I have no need of you." - 1 Corinthians 12:14-15, 17, 21 NASB
Imagine with me a gathering of believers in Jesus Christ where everyone in attendance has a spiritual gift to contribute.
Mutual-Edification & Manifesting Christ
In Assembly Required Part 1 I used the metaphor of assembling a product from IKEA to compare to Christians assembling. In THAT analogy, EVERY part is important to the goal of producing the product. Each part potentially provides a support or connection that is necessary to the creation of a table or a bed or a night stand. You cannot leave out one part. Each part has its' own unique and important role. To me, this analogy fits the idea of mutual edification. EVERY part providing support and connection in some unique and important way to all the other parts. Edify means to build. We NEED each other to build something greater than just ourselves.
NOW, I'd like to use the analogy of a puzzle. Manifest means "recognizable by the senses, especially the sense of sight." How many of you agree that when Christians gather, the person of Jesus should be recognizable among us and seen by others among us? Let's say that the "big picture" of the puzzle is Jesus Himself and each of us are bringing a unique shape, color, and piece to that big picture. Again, ALL the pieces are necessary to creating the big picture, right? You might say, "well, we could deal without the more external pieces." However, if you're like MOST people, isn't it the edge pieces that you start with in order to put together your puzzle?
The modern structure of "church" doesn't allow for EVERYONE to come and contribute. It just doesn't. Week in and week out a certain small percentage of those gathered are selected to share. Others are encouraged and recruited to play roles in the practical management of the meeting (greeting people, seating people, distributing communion elements, teaching the children). Overall, the rule of thumb in churches has always been that 20% of the people do 80% of the work and 80% of the people do 20% of the work. What if church was more like a marriage - not a 50/50 marriage but a 100/100 one.
Thee ONLY way I see a group of Christians having the opportunity to assemble together and each person prepare to bring and give 100% of themselves to the others is if our assemblies were smaller and more intimate. I'm NOT saying this is the ONLY way to do church or the BEST way to do church. I am merely on a journey reimagining church and am inviting you along for the ride and to challenge the way you think. What DO you think?