For a while now I've wanted to have a time of sharing and interaction at the conclusion of our Sunday evening worship service. Last Sunday, I introduced this time as a sort of "question-and-answer" session about the two sermons from the day. After I did this, we had a few questions, but not much interaction.
During the past week, a few people from the blog world suggested that I open this time up to be more than simply question-and-answer. Instead, it could be a time of encouragement, exhortation, sharing, prayer requests, thanksgiving, etc. I pondered this for several days. The more I did this, the more I liked the idea. Additionally, a time of only question-and-answer sets me up as "THE EXPERT PASTOR." That is simply not the case, nor is it biblical.
Last night (Sunday), at the conclusion of our service, I explained that my desire was for us to have a time of more than question-and-answer. It would also be for encouragement, exhortation, etc. After I said this, I simply waited and gave people an opportunity to respond.
I'm happy to say that the response was very edifying. Several people spoke up with words of encouragement. One man who has lost his job talked about God's faithfulness. A lady in the midst of great struggle at home reminded us to cherish the small things in life. At the end, another lady asked us to pray for her husband's salvation; we prayed to conclude the service.
This is a big step for a traditional church like ours. Some of our folks are probably a little uncomfortable with this. However, I think most of our people were encouraged by it. We all need to hear from one another about what the Lord is doing in our lives. I, as pastor, certainly don't have all the answers. God is working with each of us and we need to hear about it.
One another requires "we" as opposed to simply "I."