From time to time I ask myself, “What does it really mean to do Church?” We Evangelicals don’t miss a chance to present the Gospel; we even use our very few holidays (holy days) to evangelize rather than to celebrate. We also seat ourselves as though we were in a classroom, and are careful to fill in each blank in the the bulletin outline. To me, it does not feel much like a gathering of the Ecclesia: the called-out ones.
Some who read this might think I don’t like evangelism or sermons. The truth is that I like both; they’re just not the main reason I go to Church on Sunday. I go (or want to go) for the three “R’s” of corporate worship: corporate revelation, corporate response and corporate reenactment (these are the things that demand my actual presence). I go to celebrate the reason worship services switched from Saturday to Sunday: the Resurrection!
Unbelievers will, and should, be present (1 Cor 14:23), and Faith will be grown through hearing the Word of God (Rom 10:17). I’m just wondering whether evangelism, or a sermon, should be the focus of the gathering. In the early Community of Believers, sharing the Word of God (Revelation) was frequently communal (Col 3:16; 1 Cor 14:26), as was everything else. I understand that some Scripture requires explanation, but is it possible that a sermon may not be required or effective every week? (Educational research reveals that lecture is the least effective form of teaching.)
Perhaps we have become complacent (read “uncreative”) when dealing with God’s Word, and need a new paradigm; one that does not narrowly define worship as “music;” one in which the Pastor is the main worship leader. Not only should we teach Scripture, we should also read it; sing it; recite it; portray it; repeat it; meditate on it; relay it through the Arts; reenact it through the Sacred actions and Symbols; express it through all forms of Media. Then the Community of Believers will have something to which they can corporately and appropriately respond (read “worship”). Perhaps the Church will feel more like a Community. By the way, Seekers want to belong to a Community!