The Church Service

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jriccitelli
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Re: The Church Service

Post by jriccitelli » Wed Jun 26, 2013 1:13 am

I like to occasionally have communion with our small groups, I have had both flat hard bread and delicious French bread at times. We break the bread (a large piece)and serve it with a (tall full) glass of grape juice. This is quite a contrast with the ridiculously little thimble of juice, and the tiny, tiny little bit of cracker we get at ‘church’. This perfectly demonstrates how the church service tradition has diluted what real koinonia was meant to be.

This was first revealed to me years ago when I was going to the Mormon church, where at communion you were served a little thimble of ‘water’ (yes water!!) and a little piece of soft wonder bread. Later when I first took communion at a Christian church I was over joyed to find the bread had texture and the grape juice had flavor, and it was delicious, just like truth! Since then I have also wondered what happened to communion in the Christian church, the institutionalizing of the communion had robbed it of its flavor and joy – it was actually a delicious combination, and if you dip either the hard or French bread in the grape juice it became better (and oddly also looks like flesh). This is just what happened to the ‘communion of the Saints’; we have been given a thimble and tiny bit of cracker and think that was all the communion could be. This is not what ‘Church’ was meant to be.

Homer you know I would probably listen to Jesus (God) and Paul (!) talk for hours, but I see Jesus and the Apostles ‘more often’ interacting with whom they are speaking. Jesus was the great question asker, and Jesus and Paul are ‘more often’ engaging people in conversation (or debate), walking with them, having meals with them, spending a lot of time together, yes Jesus and the Apostles are our example.

The assembly 'is' His body, there is oneness among the parts, and they are all part of one another. When there is no assembly there may be no body of Christ. It never says 'we', as in one person is (are) His body(I can't even write it so to make sense). I, or me, am not His body.

Fellowship ‘is’ the fruit and cause of His body’s Unity, this was immediately apparent at the dawn of the Church. The Church immediately became almost overtly bonded in closeness and oneness, almost to an extreme. I think this was a result of the Koinonia that poured out from an untainted love for one another, without any structured organization of ritual.

You made my point that more often the Church is much better on a golf course than during a sermon. In fact many have left the ‘church’ and opted for the golf course on Sunday, I think that sounds like a good idea. I have learned the best friendships can develop on a walk, I think that was a key to why Jesus walked around so much. So yes it may be more like Jesus to take a walk with his disciples than giving them a sermon.

But if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin' (1 John 1:7 )

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Paidion
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Re: The Church Service

Post by Paidion » Wed Jun 26, 2013 10:12 am

We can know that the word church is translated from the Greek ecclesia which meant "assembly", but what does that mean?
A very good quesion, Homer! If the word "ecclesia" were translated as "church" in the following passage, that would be a highly unusual "church" indeed!

About that time there arose no little disturbance concerning the Way. For a man named Demetrius, a silversmith, who made silver shrines of Artemis, brought no little business to the craftsmen. These he gathered together, with the workmen in similar trades, and said, “Men, you know that from this business we have our wealth. And you see and hear that not only in Ephesus but in almost all of Asia this Paul has persuaded and turned away a great many people, saying that gods made with hands are not gods. And there is danger not only that this trade of ours may come into disrepute but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis may be counted as nothing, and that she may even be deposed from her magnificence, she whom all Asia and the world worship.”

When they heard this they were enraged and were crying out, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!”

So the city was filled with the confusion, and they rushed together into the theater, dragging with them Gaius and Aristarchus, Macedonians who were Paul’s companions in travel. But when Paul wished to go in among the crowd, the disciples would not let him. And even some of the Asiarchs, who were friends of his, sent to him and were urging him not to venture into the theater.

Now some cried out one thing, some another, for the assembly was in confusion, and most of them did not know why they had come together. Some of the crowd prompted Alexander, whom the Jews had put forward. And Alexander, motioning with his hand, wanted to make a defense to the crowd. But when they recognized that he was a Jew, for about two hours they all cried out with one voice, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!”

And when the town clerk had quieted the crowd, he said, “Men of Ephesus, who is there who does not know that the city of the Ephesians is temple keeper of the great Artemis, and of the sacred stone that fell from the sky? Seeing then that these things cannot be denied, you ought to be quiet and do nothing rash. For you have brought these men here who are neither sacrilegious nor blasphemers of our goddess. If therefore Demetrius and the craftsmen with him have a complaint against anyone, the courts are open, and there are proconsuls. Let them bring charges against one another. But if you seek anything further, it shall be settled in the regular ecclesia. For we really are in danger of being charged with rioting today, since there is no cause that we can give to justify this commotion.”
41 And when he had said these things, he dismissed the ecclesia. (Acts 19:28-41)
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.

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psimmond
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Re: The Church Service

Post by psimmond » Thu Jul 18, 2013 1:12 pm

Here's a link to a free e-booklet called "Be the Church: Discipleship and Mission Made Simple"
http://www.vergenetwork.org/bethechurch

It only takes a few minutes to read through, but I think it addresses some of the issues in this thread.
Let me boldly state the obvious. If you are not sure whether you heard directly from God, you didn’t.
~Garry Friesen

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Michelle
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Re: The Church Service

Post by Michelle » Sun Aug 25, 2013 7:14 pm

jriccitelli, how has the summer been? Have you been attending the home church more often? Have you switched completely to going there on Sunday morning?

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jriccitelli
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Re: The Church Service

Post by jriccitelli » Mon Aug 26, 2013 12:04 pm

I missed your post Psimmond, I am not sure the book addresses what happens on Sunday (I hope it does), although I am interested in looking at it. I wanted to just add that the point is not that we need discipleship and more books, I am all for that (and I have way too many books), this is about Sunday and what being assembled means. What Church really was, and what Sunday 'could' be.

It is because I think Church 'should' also include fellowship, kinship, discipleship and study that I think it should happen on Sunday.

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jriccitelli
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Re: The Church Service

Post by jriccitelli » Mon Aug 26, 2013 12:11 pm

Thanks for the inquiry, I have had gone to the small home church a few times but it is still 15 miles from home, we still pray our own pastor would see the light and let our own congregation assemble on Sundays, but to no avail yet. It is very sad, the new pastor took over this church a year ago and in order to get the church to grow he instigated a Wednesday night evangelism series, a discipleship series, a spiritual gift series, and now a new a series on ‘relationships’.
Has anything changed? No.

Has any one got to know anyone better, maybe a little bit, half way through most are staring at the ceiling and the younger people are back to their smart phones. We have lost a few members also. I attended a few of these Wednesday night classes (of each one), and sure enough the teacher (or pastor) talks the whole time. Yes, most the time the teacher talks the ‘whole’ time as 25-35 sit and listen to the talk on evangelism (which was basically gospel 101 and the 4 spiritual laws) or other topics, grant you more than half the class are seasoned old timers well able to teach, share and already ‘well’ versed in scripture. You ask why did he go over everything we already have heard 20 times already? Because that’s what all pastors think is wrong with their congregations, they think the congregation doesn’t know enough or aren’t receiving enough ‘motivational’ speeches.

A whole year! We could have had small groups the whole time but they insist on the 35 chairs in a circle with one speaker thing, forever!

What is wrong is that no one is given an opportunity’s to talk or build a relationship with each other ‘at’ Church. All that happens at church: is people come sit and listen to talks. Do some stay after and mill around for 10 minutes? Yes a few, who are retired and are not in a hurry. My wife and me hang out longer than anyone else and talk to those outside after church, and generally have the best conversations on the Church patio. But still, we are more active at this than most anyone, why can’t this happen ‘during’ Church?
The Church has been lulled to sleep (or to death) thinking that sitting in the pew for an 90 minutes fulfills going to church for the week. I blame the preachers.

The pastor talks on Sunday, on Sunday night Brother Bob talks the whole time and ‘no one’ talks to one another. Tuesday and Wednesday night the teachers talk the whole time (or worse yet the ‘video’ series), and only one teacher of 3 encourages interactive bible study on Sunday morn, the ‘one’ I regularly attend. I could attend every meeting through the week and of the 8 hours there, find maybe 20 minutes (total) before and after class in the foyer attempting to build a relationships with another church member. That is a horrible production ratio, I have better fellowship having breakfast with people, and deeper and more intimate for sure.
This small church of 100 has been meeting for 10 to 20 years; do you know how deep their relationships are? About a half inch. The only people I really know are from the interactive Sunday bible study group. There are over 50 people I have sat next to in this church for over 3 years of service with whom I have had only 5 minutes of conversation or less over the 3 years! The others I have had to ask over to ‘my home’ to get to know them, why can’t this happen on Sunday? Wasn’t this what Church was originally?

If we spent that time being disciples with each other, as in small table groups the time would be fantastic, as it is in some small groups were people understand conversation around God builds the Church.

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Michelle
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Re: The Church Service

Post by Michelle » Mon Aug 26, 2013 9:57 pm

Your church doesn't sound very healthy. Sorry to hear that.

In any case, it seems unfair to tar all pastors with this broad brush:
Because that’s what all pastors think is wrong with their congregations, they think the congregation doesn’t know enough or aren’t receiving enough ‘motivational’ speeches.

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backwoodsman
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Re: The Church Service

Post by backwoodsman » Tue Aug 27, 2013 10:53 am

jriccitelli wrote:I have had gone to the small home church a few times but it is still 15 miles from home
15 miles doesn't seem like very far to go for good fellowship, but then I live where just about everything is at least 13 miles away, and that 13 miles takes 25 minutes. And we're very blessed to have a church right here in the community that's pretty good from a fellowship standpoint, made up mostly of the friends & neighbors with whom we interact all week, and it's rare that there aren't still a few folks hanging around at least a half hour after Sunday morning service ends.
we still pray our own pastor would see the light and let our own congregation assemble on Sundays, but to no avail yet.
Does anyone else in the church notice a problem in this regard? If so, maybe you could just start meeting with them and see what happens. If the pastor sees that it fills a need for folks, maybe he'll get the idea. Or not... in my experience, it's more likely that he'll get jealous and territorial, and tell you to either bow to his authority, or get lost. But what do you have to lose?

On the other hand, if no one else even notices a problem, it may be time to cut your losses and move on.

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SteveF
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Re: The Church Service

Post by SteveF » Tue Aug 27, 2013 11:29 am

but then I live where just about everything is at least 13 miles away
Your user name is not a misnomer. You really are the backwoodsman!

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backwoodsman
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Re: The Church Service

Post by backwoodsman » Tue Aug 27, 2013 11:36 am

SteveF wrote:Your user name is not a misnomer. You really are the backwoodsman!
The bad news: Walmart, McDonalds, and the like are 1.5 hours away.
The good news: Walmart, McDonalds, and the like are 1.5 hours away. :)

Actually the nearest big city is only about 70 minutes. They even have a traffic light there. :)

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