What difference will it make if the audience is removed? Take a moment to consider that. What is the purpose of the Christian congregation? It fills the chairs. It stands on command and sits on command. It has no function but to listen and to admire the man at the front. It doesn’t matter whether there were 5 or 500 of you. Do you know what the impact of your attendance was last Sunday? At best you made the minister feel better because there was one less empty chair. Do you know what difference it will make to the meeting if you do not attend next Sunday? None, whatsoever!
If this is not enough for you, if you are prepared to accept some mess then there is a better option. The better option is to seek out a place where you, the layman can function and where you the professional minister can lay down your authority and permanent responsibility. Such places are few and far between but we do exist.
I have spent more than 12 years in such a place. It has often been difficult. Believers have come and gone. But we have survived and we have flourished. We have pursued the Lord and found that it is possible to pursue him in hard times as well as easy ones. We have enjoyed spontaneous meetings and heard the Lord through speakers good and bad.
At other times we have sat and planned one meeting for weeks at a time and seen a magnificent revelation of the lord. We have seen his fullness, his love and his adoration for his people. For all the struggles and the difficulties there is life, freedom and revelation for those prepared to stick at this way for the sake of a deeper relationship with Christ. There is excitement, joy and life and that will be forever unknown to those in rows.
A functioning body of believers is possible. The Lord died to make it possible. He is seeking a people who will dedicate themselves to him and will pursue him together. The head of the church is seeking a body. He made each and every believer a priest and a minister. The lord has given you his Spirit and the spirit within you has a voice.
Come and see a church that functions. Come and meet in a place where everyone has a voice. Come and ask the believers who gather here what it took to be here and what their experiences are. Look and see what we do well. See what we do badly. But don’t ever let anyone tell you it cannot be done. The church of Jesus Christ is available.
We need better meetings but meetings cannot be our beginning and our end. The church meeting is only the beginning of the life available in the body of Christ.