Question:

Hi!

There is a new movement starting here which has me troubled. One of the local congregations is organizing an area wide morning worship serviceto replace the normal worship service in the local congregations. My husband has tried to point out Hebrews 10:25, but one of the preachers involved said there is no forsaking the assembly because they are still assembling, just not in the usual place of worship. What about money collected, who would be responsible etc.? I would like your thoughts on this.

I have enjoyed your articles on various subjects in the past.

Thanks!


Answer:

A local church is one that gathers together for worship in a local area and works together for the cause of Christ. A local church comes together as a church for worship (I Corinthians 11:18). Elders are appointed over each local church (Acts 14:23; Titus 1:5; I Peter 5:1-2).

I looked up several examples. They are nothing more than a one-service Gospel meeting or singing held at regular intervals. Most are held in the evening so as not to interfere with Christians worshiping with their regular congregation. But since the examples I found were all being done by a congregation, it is simply a church inviting Christians from neighboring churches to visit. It would be no different than stopping by a congregation while traveling (Acts 20:6-7). Picking the morning worship time should mean that few will come, as obligations to one's own congregation comes first.

If such a meeting was done independent of a congregation, I would be more concern. It would be essentially an attempt to establish another congregation or it could decay into an attempt to organize several congregations under the oversight of something larger.

Thank you, Jeffrey, for your time and input. God Bless!

Hello and Greetings,

I know the individual that sent you the question that you answered, and wanted to share a bit more with you. When this area wide worship service was originally proposed by a neighboring congregation, it sounded "interesting", and we wanted more information. Initially, it sounded as though this congregation was going to organize and host the service. Okay, it's not sounding too bad.

Let's move forward a month. We find out that this area wide worship service isn't being organized or hosted by a single congregation. Instead, a "group" has been formed with representatives from several congregations that are working out the details, such as when, where, who does song leading, prayers, preaching, Bible class, etc. All of this has been happening without most of our knowledge.

At least one of the congregations involved won't even be opening their doors that day. They will, instead, be at this area wide service. As far as a collection, they will be taking up a collection to pay for the rental of the facility large enough to seat everyone. Word received is that an remaining monies will be saved for the next one.

The first thing that screams out to me is the coming together of various congregations, creating a "group" overseeing and planning this event. This is a good example of the formation of something that is denominational.

As I said, I would be more concerned if this was done independent of a congregation. What is being done is a formation of an organization that sees itself as composed of congregations in an area.

Even if you managed to argue that they are only inviting individual Christians, then you have someone attempting to create another congregation, but one that only exists on a temporary basis. Yet, it is not the members of the congregation who are organizing it.

None of this follows the Lord's instructions for the forming and operation of a congregation. I agree that it will quickly devolve into denominational styled organization.