Friday, July 5, 2013

When Everyone Participates Christ Alone is Exalted

One of the beauties of participatory church gatherings is that, by definition, everyone is invited to participate.
While the specifics of the get-togethers may differ, one of the key similarities is that every person present has the opportunity to share out loud what the Holy Spirit has given him or her to say. This may take the form of a scripture reading, a testimony, a prayer, a teaching, a prophecy, etc. The only three restrictions are the following: it must be provided by the Spirit, consistent with scripture, and edifying to the body.

When the body operates in this manner no one person is elevated in any way. All present are equally important parts of the body both in status and function. No one leads from the front (there probably isn't a front). No one stands on a stage. No one speaks far more than anyone else. In fact, nothing happens that would point out any one person as more strategic to body life than anyone else. Elders will likely be present, but if they are acting as they should they will not stand out.

In this type of gathering only one person is exalted. Somewhat ironically, he's the one who is present spiritually but not physically. That person is clearly Jesus Christ. This is as it should be since he is the head of his church:

"And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church." Ephesians 1:22

"For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior." Ephesians 5:23

"And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent." Colossians 1:18

Colossians 1:18 is a beautiful summary verse about both the existence of the universe in general and the purpose of the church in particular. It all exists to display the preeminence of Jesus Christ.

Church family gatherings should, therefore, in every way embrace and show off the supremacy of Jesus Christ in all things (both in form and function). This occurs best when everyone is not only allowed but encouraged to participate. The result is a fully functional church body in which the only person exalted in any manner is the only one who should be: our Lord Jesus.

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