Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Preparing For Next Sunday

As our house church gathers we try to follow the I Corinthians 14 meeting pattern.

As we do this we invariably discuss scripture a great deal. Our talks are highly bible-focused, usually moving from reading to explanation to application. It doesn't always follow this pattern, but this makes the most sense and is therefore how the conversations go.

During this time we want to be free to turn to any part of the bible that has application to what is being said. However, we also desire to study the whole counsel of God's word. One effective way to do this is to go through books chapter-by-chapter.

We discussed last week how we can both have a free-flowing, spontaneous meeting but still study an agreed upon chapter as part of it. We want to avoid having what amounts to only a bible study, but we also desire to study all of scripture instead of defaulting to our favorite doctrines or topics.

After discussing it for a while, we decided to go through books chapter-by-chapter. We will begin by preparing earlier in the week. This will give parents the opportunity and responsibility to both study the chapter and teach it to our children. We will be able to discuss it all week. Then as we gather on Sundays everyone will be ready to discuss it. Our hope is that by doing this a couple of things will happen. First, everyone present should gain a better understanding of the passage. Second, during the gatherings we won't have to spend as much time on direct teaching and can move more quickly into application. This, in turn, should lead to opportunities for exhortation to live out whatever the passage is saying.

The above idea of going through chapters is a good one, but even it could become routine after a while. I hope we can avoid doing something just for the sake of doing it. If we gather together and someone has some sort of crisis going on, I'm certain we will feel freedom to serve and comfort that person and leave the bible chapter for the next week.

I'm interested to see how things go this coming Sunday. We have studied some through the book of Revelation. This Sunday we'll look at chapter 15. I don't know how or when we will begin studying the passage as we gather. The Spirit has a much better way of directing things than I ever could. I'm glad He is our worship leader.

I'm looking forward to both studying and teaching this passage to my kids. I'm also anticipating our time together as the church on Sunday. What will happen? I don't know. How will Revelation 15 impact our lives? I don't know.

I do know that if we think of others first and focus on edifying others to God's glory, it will be a wonderful time.

2 comments:

micah7 said...

Eric,

I like that you have shown the role and importance of preparation. As you know from one of my recent comments, I am concerned that lack of participation in church gatherings stems from, in large part, from lack of preparation. I am curious as to how the teaching elders function during this time. I ask because this would be a time when those gifted in teaching have the opportunity to serve/edify the body with their gifts. Perhaps there are other times too and maybe you can address those but my main question would be how the teaching elders are utilizing their gift of teaching during this time. (I'm using term "teaching elder" because those who are "apt to teach" and meet other qualifications are likely to be recognized as elders or bishops - 1 Timothy 3:1-7) Maybe you can write another post about it.

Eric said...

Micah,

As we discuss scripture, I have noticed that it is the fathers who are doing most of the talking. We read the primary passage, explain what it means, and then make application. We also use many cross references. No one person is appointed to teach, but those most comfortable in that role seem to speak more during this time. A casual observer could probably tell who is gifted in teaching by simply sitting in on the conversation.

Of course, teaching takes different forms. Some people seem to be more gifted in teaching by doing. Those folks may not be as talkative in a group setting, but they may be extremely effective at teaching others how to serve more effectively, etc.

I'm excited about the increased preparation in the coming weeks. I hope this leads to more discussion by more people present. As we all prepare, my guess is that those who are gifted in teaching will feel even more confident in using their gifts for the edification of the body.