The Church Service

Post Reply
Haole
Posts: 43
Joined: Sun Jun 19, 2011 9:44 pm

Re: The Church Service

Post by Haole » Thu Nov 15, 2012 12:09 pm

Last week our pastor mentioned that his philosophy has always been to "go out and get" the next one. He said he wasn't going to concern himself about "keeping them". I think that Jesus 'keeps" you so long as you are really "gotten". I think that the "get" has been emphasized so much that it's getting watered down by the method of getting people in the door. If I assume that the "church service" was never intended to be at a gathering in a huge building, then today's church service is really the message for the goats that the sheep invited. The small group is the "gathering of ourselves together". The problem, as I see it, is that we aren't making disciples, we are making church-goers. Jesus said, "Go and make disciples". He did not say, "Go and make people into people who go to church and then live the way they want and invite people to go to church so THOSE people can be made into people that go to and invite people to church". What is the solution? Start making disciples.
Remember in elementary school or junior high, someone whispered, "At 11 o'clock, everybody cough"? Well Christians, not at 11, but right now, everybody act like Christians. If we feel something lacking in the visible Christian church, but on the verge of turning around (and I do) we need to pray, really make Jesus our LORD, and live like it. Encourage each other. Start to "be the change" that we want (that sounds cliche). Reach out to other Christians from other churches and denominations in the community. Make our presence known. Like the little signs that people used to put in their front window, so if a kid was being chased or whatever, they knew that was a safe house. We need to be the homes all over, that people know about, where ANYONE can go, because they know they'll find help.
Having said all that, this forum is a GREAT place to bring things up. I have learned and laughed loud while reading threads. I am grateful for our fellowship, albeit limited.

Kevin

Jim
Posts: 68
Joined: Tue Aug 26, 2008 7:38 am

Re: The Church Service

Post by Jim » Sat Feb 16, 2013 12:27 am

Maybe the problem is how you conduct church services, having a few emotionally uplifting songs and then it sit down for class. Why not participate through out the service not because it is what you want in music or hope to hear a good message, because it is about communion with God and each other as a body, the Body. This takes self denial, and structure and afterward after all the prayers are done meet for fellowship meal as a big family. I still attend with my wife at a Baptist Church, love everyone there after all many are long time friends, but I will never give up the Divine Liturgy, Vespers, Vigils, etc. of the Church.
Remembering our most holy, pure, blessed, and glorious Lady, the Theotokos and ever virgin Mary, with all the saints, let us commit ourselves and one another and our whole life to Christ our God.

User avatar
jriccitelli
Posts: 1317
Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2011 10:14 am
Location: San Jose, CA
Contact:

Re: The Church Service

Post by jriccitelli » Sat May 18, 2013 9:34 am

I am 100% convinced that Sunday morning is not the time for a sermon.
People immediately think I am against sermons and organized religion, and they are right.
I am against sermons and organized religion because these two things have overwhelmingly replaced Christianity and living as the body of Christ. Living as the body of Christ is; the assembling together as Christians – our assembling was ‘originally’ our family time as Christian brothers, sisters and disciples.

I am ‘not’ against sermons and organized religion - ‘if’ they do not replace - ‘if’ they do not become more important - ‘if’ they do not take our time away from the actually assembly of the Church body. But the Organized church ‘has’ committed this error, for 17 centuries. First of all I want to explain that I do not want to do away with organized religion, but I want it to ‘return’ to what it was. It ‘was’ the body of Christ with Jesus being the head of the Church, and 'all' the members made up the body – that’s the organization of the Church.

This sounds like a revolution! But – no – all I am saying is; let the small groups bible studies hold precedence over the sermon on Sundays.

That’s all I am saying. But to many good Christians this comes across like heresy, horridness, blasphemy, dark disruptive lies designed to ruin the church!!!
To that I say; ‘oh brother’

I have long been convinced that the small group is the real church, this is where friendships grow, this is where people really learn, and 'this' is where we're supposed to be – in the body of Christ.
Some people think I’m simply saying; ‘we need more fellowship’, and true fellowship is a result and the cure, but it is just one characteristic of the real church (an assembly of the body of Christ).
People often tell me ‘go have a church barbeque, or invite them out to coffee!’ Believe me these two things I love and do quite regularly, in fact because I do this so often I am further convinced that this is the ‘real’ way of church.

In fact I believe we’re having church ‘whenever’ we get together with our Christian friends, it seems meals and doing something together are the best times for fellowship (as long as the believers are following Christ). And although I enjoy lightening conversation with sports, games, trivia and gossip (just kidding about the gossip), my wife and me are hoping and zealous for ‘Godly’ and meaningful talk that actually revolves around Christ, and His Spirit.

Of course my first love and desire is to disciple and have bible studies – that’s where the gospel can be preached – and it can be understood, and it can be taught, and it can be confirmed, and questions can be asked and questions answered, personal prayers can be made and shared, all while building friendship trust, intimacy and real relationships throughout the body of Christ (try doing that in a pew during regular service).

The objection I get is; Why don’t you just do your bible study during the week like other churches!

User avatar
jriccitelli
Posts: 1317
Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2011 10:14 am
Location: San Jose, CA
Contact:

Re: The Church Service

Post by jriccitelli » Sat May 18, 2013 11:02 am

Why don’t you just have bible study during the week like other churches?

Why don’t you have the sermon during the week, and have the bible study on Sunday.
That seems pretty simple.

Some say to me; Many churches do have Sunday school, and a regular preachin’ service. Why does John want to get rid of the sermon?!

How many really attend Sunday school? And again, what is the reason for having the sermon the ‘main’ event?
So except for the worship songs; Why does the sermon take up over 50% of the time we spend in church?
A real Church should already have at least a few disciples, and if the teachers are doing anything at all there should be lots of disciples (isn’t that what the commission was all about?). So a pastor simply has to shepherd the disciples as ‘they’ teach one another, and the pastor can also teach (if he knows how). But unfortunately many a men do not want to give up that reign, and many people elect to have a king rule over them, alas. What could be a great Sunday morning of teaching and friendship becomes a cult of ritual and ancient priesthood.

The sermon can take from 50- 70% of the time, but still the whole time we are stuck in these rows of chairs all facing forward. All the functions of the service can be performed at small group tables, and it does happen during the week all over the world. Another time killer is the long manipulative tithe collecting (since when does it have to be done to music?), this can be done by table leaders (I don’t need music to get me to put money in a hat). Also, the communion can be shared by breaking bread at your own tables; this is the Konionia that was meant by the original (and why the tiny piece of bread, and little tiny thimble of juice?)

I do have bible studies during the week, and I have regularly taught and held bible study in our home for years. In fact for years I made pursuit of attending as many bible studies as I could just to observe and learn what it is that makes a good bible study group. And in the mean time I have also sat through hundreds of Sunday sermons, and what have I concluded? I love worship music, but the time spent sitting through a sermon has been the most unproductive part of my Christian life – bar none.
There is nothing at sermon time that can not effectively be taught in small groups, so why do it if interactive teaching is far more effective, beneficial, and productive? Although there is still ‘reason’ for preaching the word, it does not have to be EVERY ‘Sunday’ morning, and it doesn’t have to be more than 15 minutes (really), and why not on Wednesday night, like some churches?

User avatar
Michelle
Posts: 845
Joined: Fri Aug 22, 2008 12:16 pm

Re: The Church Service

Post by Michelle » Sat May 18, 2013 11:39 am

Interesting, JR.
...so why do it if interactive teaching is far more effective, beneficial, and productive?
Could you explain a little more about interactive teaching? What does it look like?

User avatar
Paidion
Posts: 4912
Joined: Mon Aug 18, 2008 10:22 pm
Location: Back Woods of North-Western Ontario

Re: The Church Service

Post by Paidion » Sat May 18, 2013 6:58 pm

In my opinion, JR is getting close to the real purpose of church meetings.

In the early church, there were no sects, at least not until the sectarian spirit arose in the Corinthian church (assembly). "When you come together," Paul wrote, "Each one has a psalm, a hymn, a teaching, a prophecy, a tongue, etc."— something to contribute. Each local church was an expression of the whole Church which Christ founded. You couldn't join a local church. God joined you to the universal Church which Christ founded. "God added to the Church daily such as should be saved." Any group which requires you to join in order to have full privileges, and have your name on a membership list — a group that has a creed to which you must subscribe, and a set of practices to follow, is not a church; it is a club. It is an exclusive club which holds to distinctives that divide them from other members of the Body.

The early church met every Sunday to hold "the Lord's supper" or "a love feast" in honour of Christ. This was a common meal. That was followed by "the communion (the sharing), later called "the eucharist" (the thanksgiving). Thanks was given to Christ for dying to deliver them from sin. There wasn't one person called "the minister." Rather any disciple of Christ who met with a local church was a minister. Each ministered to the others. Does this mean disorder? No. For overseers (later called "bishops") and servers (transliterated as "deacons") who assisted the overseers were appointed to see that all was done decently and in order.

The early church met in homes, and probably sat in circles so that they could see the one who was currently ministering. They did not sit in straight rows as if they were an audience, while one person stood in front of them to deliver a "sermon." Anyone could give a short teaching, suggest a psalm, sing a hymn, prophesy, speak in a tongue (if there was an interpreter), as he or she was led by the spirit of God/Christ. There was not a prepared program which was carried out in the meetings. Rather everyone ministered as he/she was led by the holy spirit.

There are a number of groups today, who still have meetings after the pattern of the early church. I was privileged to be with one such group. It was so exciting, I couldn't wait to get to church every Sunday. One couldn't predict what was going to happen—what God would do! I recall on one occasion preparing a short talk. When I got to church, before I gave my talk, every hymn, Bible reading, and more comprised a single theme — the very theme of the talk I had prepared! I knew that God had orchestrated the whole thing according to His will! All glory to Him!
Paidion

Man judges a person by his past deeds, and administers penalties for his wrongdoing. God judges a person by his present character, and disciplines him that he may become righteous.

Avatar shows me at 75 years old. I am now 81.

User avatar
jriccitelli
Posts: 1317
Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2011 10:14 am
Location: San Jose, CA
Contact:

Re: The Church Service

Post by jriccitelli » Sun May 19, 2013 11:29 am

Paidion, we sometimes disagree on certain doctrines but it is good to agree on something too. In fact I had been looking for Jepne’s comment on body ministry in search, but never could find it (under what thread?). I agree as you said that ‘overseers were appointed to see that all was done decently and in order’ and I will add; that’s all that was needed.
I also empathize with Jepne when she said; ‘there is no real freedom to move by the Spirit of God except with three of our friends’. I think the congregations of believers have been stunted, stifled and stymied in their growth directly as a result of the ‘leadership’ governing most churches.
It seems I am complaining about Church government and order, congregation, presbyters versus leaders and such, but the solution is so simple it ‘shouldn’t’ even concern itself with the style of Church government, unless of course the Church Government decides it needs to step in and stop ‘it’. ‘It’ being the disruptive advancement of ‘bible study and fellowship’ trying to displace the God ordained (?) episcopacy, leaders and followers of this tradition.
“I knew that God had orchestrated the whole thing according to His will!” (Paidion)
Isn’t it a great feeling when you see an ordained meeting being orchestrated through ‘everyone’ at Church on a ‘Sunday’ morning, rather than assuming that ‘only’ the man in the pulpit has been chosen by God to speak, move and disciple others! I went to a birthday party barbeque yesterday afternoon and was spoken to by at least three different Christians who lifted me up, encouraged me, and inspired me. That’s what we’re talking about! It’s not that difficult to be a Christian, and it shouldn’t be such a work to have Church.

User avatar
Michelle
Posts: 845
Joined: Fri Aug 22, 2008 12:16 pm

Re: The Church Service

Post by Michelle » Sun May 19, 2013 11:53 am

JR, I'm curious about why you don't go ahead and start a church in your home on Sundays. What's keeping you from doing just that? Also, tell me about interactive teaching. I really want to know.

User avatar
Bud
Posts: 112
Joined: Tue Jun 26, 2012 3:51 pm
Location: Aloha, Oregon

Re: The Church Service

Post by Bud » Sun May 19, 2013 2:20 pm

jriccitelli, just found the "body ministry" post by Jepne you were looking for, (I think).

It is on page 4(?) of this thread.

Here it is:


" Re: The Church Service

by Jepne on Thu Sep 27, 2012 6:14 pm

Oh dear, I guess I am a little late, but so be it.

Can we go back to Paidion’s post about ‘body ministry’? Has anyone ever experienced this? It is New Testament ‘church’.

The very term “The Church Service” makes me cringe. The most alive functioning church I was ever apart of called it ‘assembling’. We would just be there at the appointed time. There were about 200 of us, and we operated by the Spirit of God. The leadership sat on a platform so they could see what was going on. Literally ‘oversight’. Sometimes there was music at the beginning (with an open microphone), sometimes it was prayer or a message. Often someone not in leadership would have the message – something he had been looking at during the week and felt the Lord would have him (or her) share with the Body. Prophecy and spiritual songs flowed like a river.

We shared our goods with one another, took time to help people pack, or clean house – practical ways of showing love.

Every once in a while, someone would begin a story with, “We were having church in Wal-mart the other day and. . . .”

Where we live up here, I know of only one group (out of more than twelve in the four closest villages) where the ‘pastor’ does not conduct a planned structured ‘service’ – and it is based on the writings of one man - there is no real freedom to move by the Spirit of God except with three of our friends.

Pret-ty difficult when you have tasted the real thing, but we determine to be content and thankful for wonderful godly neighbors.


Jepne

 

Posts: 124

Joined: Fri Jul 24, 2009 6:08 pm "


Good stuff in this thread, I like your ideas jr. (Short for jriccitelli not junior).

For anyone who hasn't, some more good relevant material can be found in Steve Greggs' topical lectures called,
"Some Assembly Required".

(I hope that's the lectures I'm thinking of)

God bless, All
Malachi 3:16 Then those who feared the LORD spoke to one another, and the LORD gave attention and heard [it,] and a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the LORD and who esteem His name. (NASB) :)

User avatar
jriccitelli
Posts: 1317
Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2011 10:14 am
Location: San Jose, CA
Contact:

Re: The Church Service

Post by jriccitelli » Mon May 20, 2013 10:24 am

‘... why you don't go ahead and start a church in your home on Sundays. What's keeping you from doing just that?
That seems to be the direction I’m forced (and encouraged) to go, not that I wouldn’t like to, it’s just that I really ‘hoped’ I could just find good teaching and fellowship on Sunday morning, in other words I was hoping to find 'Church' on a 'Sunday' morning. This leads to Michelles other note; “…tell me about interactive teaching. I really want to know”
What I mean by interactive teaching is 'basically' what you have when you sit down to dinner with friends - interactive conversation, not one person preaching to the rest but each interacting with each other and each having opportunity to talk and ask questions. A mature believer should be able to lead or encourage conversations through Godly edifying questions without any structured program or collar; this is the goal of discipleship, a mature person able to serve (Eph.4).

When bible study is the objective, the 'direction' should be maintained by what the apostles laid out (like Paidion stated); ‘overseers were appointed to see that all was done decently and in order’. The table leader does not lord over the group, but rather the table leaders job is just to keep the conversation Godly and focused, if there is any structure it should be based on written material and Godly wisdom, like the Bible for instance, this is interactive teaching. An effective teacher should be able to draw out what the learner knows, build on it, ask questions and encourage people to ask questions to be sure everyone understands, or at least has the opportunity to participate in the learning process together.

I used to think this was popular and normal, I guess because I was always drawn to small groups and I think I was lucky enough to have participated in many bible studies where study happened interactively. Sitting in a circle is the key, and having a table to sit around changes the dynamic from man focused to group interaction. A good test to see if a church or teachers understand interactive learning is to do what I do; if I visit a church, I walk through the halls and look in the empty classrooms to see which way the chairs are facing, if they all face forward then the believers are not having Church, they are only facilitating lectures.

This is not what discipleship is. Unless you interact with a student it is just a lecture, I can get that kind of mentoring from a tape player. I do love academia and learning, I go to lectures, in fact I’m finishing a class this week online, an ‘interactive’ class on electronics, with finals Wednesday. What Steve lectures at is a ‘school’, and what Steve Gregg does on the radio is interactive. And what Steve does with friends and family is interactive. I encourage people to go online and the radio, go to school and learn all you can from the best teachers you can find – but real learning happens interactively – a large group does not offer that. The smaller and smaller the better, in fact when two or three are gathered there is more time for ‘each’ person.

A person advances when they have a tutor, a mentor, a friend, this is not warm and fuzzy this is what many great teachers and students have in common; someone came along side them and actually took an interest in them, and cared, and modeled until both are edified by each other. I read of a great teacher who did just this, his name was Jesus, isn’t this the person we want to model and share from? Of course, and the disciples made disciples too. From what I have understood, it seems Jewish Talmudic learning now incorporates study pairs called ‘chavrutas’ meaning friendship or companionship. Jesus was a great question asker, He seemed to interact with people quite a bit, He is our model; caring, considerate, compassionate, opening the scripture to them and making it real. I noticed recently that Steven and Philip chose to serve tables (Acts 6) and yet they both were used miraculously to preach and teach the word, I think learning to ‘serve tables’ may have been the key to their success.

Post Reply

Return to “Fellowship & Worship”