Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Church Simply: Why Get Together Anyway? Mutual Edification

One source of great confusion in much of the church today is why the church gets together. This is fascinating because churches gather so regularly. You would think that the people would know why they are doing so. When asked, most Christians respond with the vague, " worship." However, they can neither support this biblically nor even accurately define it.

At least some of this confusion stems from the term "worship service." Since people attend these ceremonies, they think this is when "worship" happens. It is all one big confusing mess. The reason for all this, of course, is that worship is not why the church gathers (worship is a 24/7 exercise). Rather, the church comes together for mutual edification.

I Corinthians 14:26 is an extremely important verse. Paul writes, "What then, brothers? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up." Paul is less concerned with their specific activities than he is with why they are doing what they are doing. All should be for the building up of the body into maturity in Christ. We see an active body where each person uses his or her gifts to build up others.

Mutual edification is easy to define. Because of that, it is easy for local bodies of believers to make this the focus of their gatherings. They can step back and see if what they are doing is actually accomplishing what it should. On the other hand, when churches focus on worship, it is nearly impossible to determine what their meetings are accomplishing.

Before even gathering together churches should ask the "Why?" question. The answer to this question is much more important than the "Who? What? Where? When? and How?" questions. If a church doesn't know why it comes together, then none of the other answers matter.

Simple churches meet for mutual edification of the body. It's as simple as that.


Aussie John said...


Followers of Christ meet for MUTUAL edification. So right!

It's quite obvious, without pointing to the few instances on the web, that even simple church is being hijacked by those who also believe what you have stated, but they attend with the intention of being THE EDIFIER of all, rather than BE EDIFIED.

The word "mutual" seems not to be in their vocabulary,as well as the understanding of what Paul meant when he used the word "foundation" in 1 Cor.3..

"For we are God's fellow workers. You are God's field,God's building.

According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid foundation, and someone else is building upon it. LET EACH ONE TAKE CARE HOW HE BUILDS ON IT. FOR NO ONE CAN LAY A FOUNDATION OTHER THAN THAT WHICH IS LAID, WHICH IS JESUS CHRIST".

Neil Braithwaite said...

Corporate church leadership is beginning to panic as they come to grips with the fact that every year millions of people are leaving their churches.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like these leaders have a clue as to why so many people are leaving because they just continue their marketing efforts to lure people in with a Sunday morning extravaganza.

The adage that the definition of insanity is continuing to do the same thing over and over and expecting different results rings true for the leaders who perpetuate a corporate church system.

The problem for corporate church is that they continue to market a Sunday morning spectacle as their big selling point. That being the case, they will live or die by what they can offer people on Sunday morning that’s bigger and better than the church down the street. But if Sunday morning isn’t the answer to holding on to members and attracting new ones, making it more spectacular isn’t going to solve the problem.

The statistics continue to show that the glitz and glamor of the lighted stage, rock bands, video productions and flamboyant speakers eventually becomes just an empty entertainment package to those who are truly seeking the Kingdom of God. So when the grand illusion called “church” today is seen for what it really is by those seeking the true Kingdom of God, they quickly become disillusioned and seek God’s Kingdom somewhere else.

As with other big movements in the last decade, the Internet is proving to be a tough competitor to the corporate church. Not in the sense that the Internet is what people are exchanging their church experience for, but that the Internet is providing some answers to Kingdom seekers about what “church” is really supposed to be like.

Like any other product or service in today’s marketplace that consumers find don’t perform as advertised, people will search the Internet looking for answers and to see if others are in the same boat. So people are finding more and more web sites and blogs like this one that address the issue of what “church” has become and what it was originally supposed to be according to scripture. And when they contrast today’s church with the biblical church, it’s a shock to their long held “religious” beliefs - that the simplicity of the biblical model of the church has become nothing more than a building marketed and advertised as a place where people meet on Sunday morning for an hour to be entertained and then pumped-up by a motivational preacher asking for money and encouraging them to come back next week for more of the same.