By Scott L: Guest Blogger
I believe this will be my final post for now pertaining to the topic of church. I can say, for myself, it has been both encouraging and challenging to be reminded what is, or who is, church. If you missed any of these articles and want to start back at the beginning, check out Church 101 – The Basics.
To end out, I wanted to look at one of the most important passages, for me, concerning the topic, and one of my current favorites. It is found in 1 Corinthians 14:26:
What then, brothers? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a teaching, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up.
There is a little phrase in this Scripture that jumps out at me – ‘each one has’. That’s right! Each one has! It doesn’t say a few have, or most have, or all but you have. It says, ‘each one has’.
What a revolutionary idea. But yet, it’s been around for almost 2,000 years! Now, most of God’s people are beginning to realize that we are all called to ministry, we are all called to serve on behalf of Christ. We see Scriptures like 2 Corinthians 5:18 that actually help us believe such life-changing truth:
All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.
But, when we gather together on Sunday’s (or whenever), do we really believe the truth that each one has. For it is the main church gathering which Paul is addressing in 1 Corinthians 14. In that main meeting of the saints together, he says we all come with something – a song, a teaching, a revelation, a tongue, an interpretation. And there are other things we could slide in there.
But have you noticed that Sunday mornings are usually dedicated to one person, or possibly a handful. Yeah, we all sing, or most of us, and we all listen to the ‘preacher’, or most of us. But 1 Corinthians 14:26 seems to teach that all of us have something specific, and special, to give in the meeting. Thus, we must shield ourselves from taking on an audience mentality when we meet together. That means guarding against letting one person, or a handful, do everything and lead everything. For remember, we are the people of God called to share our lives together. And when we gather together, we must embrace the reality that ‘each one has’. We cannot leave it to the professional paid Christian behind the pulpit. It is us together. We are a team, we are a body.
Some of you would be quick to say, ‘Well, we do this. But we save it for home groups. There isn’t enough time to allow people to share, prophesy, or “give a word” on Sunday mornings.’ But we must be reminded of the context in which Paul says ‘each one has’. It is concerning the main gathering, not just home groups. And if your response to that is, ‘Well, we are too big to administrate something like this,’ then I would not necessarily challenge you to downsize, but rather to break out in expansion (one larger group breaking out into several smaller groups). And, in doing so, you will also see the opportunity for the kingdom rule of God to expand into the lives of others who need to be reached.
I do not believe Paul had in mind that every single person in the body Christ has to share. Of course not. But the potential for such is present. For consider, if each member has been indwelt by the Holy Spirit, and they are looking to continue in that relationship with Him, then they have things that He is speaking and doing in their lives. Or, during the time of corporate worship, a revelation might come to one, and it is like a two-edged sword. We must give room for that to be shared! This is truly part of realizing the truth that ‘each one has’.
So, as I close these thoughts on church, at least for the time being, I end with the challenge, and encouragement, to make sure we are making every effort to walk out 1 Corinthians 14:26. And as we do, I believe we will see a healthier and more mature body of Christ as we make a way for them to freely and safely learn to share their gifts in the midst of their brothers and sisters.
Rey’s Local Church Series.