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Assembling as the Church

Assembling as the Church - Recognizing Biblical Practices

Attending church is good for the ministry of the word and corporate worship. However, too often people show up, fellowship with the back of the head of the person in front of them, get their spiritual battery recharged and go home. This is not enough. These elements of assembling need to be present in our lives…

We need to be devoted to
     …Apostles’ Teaching. This is teaching that we first learn and are then entrusted with and sent out to teach others 
     …Prayer
     …Breaking Bread (eating together)
     …Koinonia. This word is sometimes translated fellowship, however that translation misses the richness of what koinonia means. It includes:
               o Sharing the Lord’s Supper/Communion. Actually, search scripture – communion is NOT referenced the breaking of bread but is referenced as EITHER “the bread and the cup” or as koinonia!
               o Being deeply connected to other believes
               o Jointly participating in laboring together for Christ
               o Working together for our common good, having commonality, common unity
               o Tangibly and visibly helping meet each other’s needs
               o It means to share joys and pains, common experiences, interests and goals
               o This is the same word used to describe our relationship with God:
               And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. 1 John 1: 3

The Body
          Each member of the body has a part to play. During some times of gathering, each is expected to participate…
          When you assemble, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification. I Cor. 14: 26
                   … the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love. Eph. 4: 16

We need to:
            …love one another. John 13:34
                Loving one another is how people know we are Christians. John 13:35
            …be devoted to one another and honor one another. Romans 12:10
            …accept one another as Christ has accepted us. Romans 15:7
            …instruct one another. Romans 15:14
            ...not have divisions, but agree and have the same mind. 1 Corinthians 1:10
            …serve one another in love. Galatians 5:13
            …bear with one another. Ephesians 4:2
            …be kind, compassionate and forgive each other as in Christ God forgave us. Ephesians 4:32
            …sing and make music. Ephesians 5:19
            …submit to one another. Ephesians 5:21
            …teach and admonish one another, sing. Colossians 3:16
            …encourage and build each other up. 1 Thessalonians 5:11
            … spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Hebrews 10:24
            …not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another-and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:25
            …offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 1 Peter 4:9
            …confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.            The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. James 5:16
            …encourage one another and build each other up. 1 Thessalonians 5:11
            …carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2
            … in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Philippians 2:3-5
                 And on and on…

Common Misconception
       Some say, “I think it is wrong if a person doesn’t become a member of a local church and attend services on Sunday!”
       Response: Romans 14 indicates that we have freedom to choose in regard to how we will worship God. The more important question would be this, is our current method of gathering to worship and serve with others allowing for those things above? Am I participating as an active member of the body of Christ? If not, how will I adjust my life so that I can connect deeply enough to others in the body of Christ to give and receive in the areas listed above?

How do we, individual members of the body of Christ, connect in order to experience those things above?

Small groups
The key to the life of the body is that we BOTH receive and give. Small groups are essential for this type of reciprocal exchange. A small group typically has 3-8 people.
Sunday School, Home Groups, Cells, Ministries, Studies, Classes, Extended Christian Households, Working koinonia groups, etc.

Congregating
We congregate for ministry of the word (especially by those who are particularly gifted/skilled), Apostle’s teaching (to receive teaching that we pass on to others), to be equipped and sent out, to corporately plan/work on ministry initiatives, etc.
Church attendance, Conferences, Seminars, Retreats, Corporate Gathering of Ecclesia

Distributed Connections
We connect at the region, state, national or global level for information exchange, teaching, cooperative efforts, networking, service/ministry, etc.
Visits, Conferences/Seminars, Social Networks, Phone calls, etc.
Media: TV, Radio, Books, Recorded Messages, etc.

How often should we assemble or gather?
Daily or near daily we should be connecting deeply with others, receiving from others and using our gifts and talents to serve each other and stir each other to acts of service. Weekly, or more, we should be receiving from those who are skilled equippers. We should congregate with the larger body, the ecclesia/church. Some congregate weekly, some from time to time.
Romans, chapter 14, helps us to understand that we can have unity in Christ and diversity in our approaches to assembling.

Being Practical
When we assemble, it is helpful if we understand the expectations of us as participants in the assembly. It is helpful to identify shared standards, practices and to have a common agreement regarding those expectations.

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