Blog - Supporting Believers

Can You Help With Examples for New Book?

Monday, August 24, 2015

Years of emphasizing the importance of making workplace-ready disciples has led me to the writing of another book. Not on Christians in the workplace, as such, but on the way we do church. I’ve become convinced that our practices of gathering form one barrier to churches equipping Christ-followers to learn how to live out their faith at work and elsewhere. Drilling down to the core of the book takes us to two Scripture passages.

The first is what Jesus called his "new command” (Jn. 13:34, 35). The three one-anothers in those verses became the seed from which the New Testament’s more than 50 one-anothers/each-others grew. The fact that Jesus, near the end of his earthly ministry, saw a need to give his church planters a single new command underscores its importance in his thinking. In short, when we practice gathering (ekklesia) we should give top priority to one-anothering.

The second is what Paul told the Ephesians what makes the church grow. He said the "body . . .grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work” (Eph. 4:16, emphasis added).

Combining one-anothering with each part doing its work spells, in my mind, participation. Yet in a typical Sunday morning gathering of believers, very few parts have any opportunity to do their work. For example, when was the last time you heard anyone tell your congregation how they saw God on the move in their work circle the week before? Or how long has it been since you listened as someone described what God has been stirring up in their neighborhood?

A few churches are structuring their meetings to incorporate participation and one-anothering. So within the book I hope to describe just how they are doing that. You can help me discover those examples. Here are few illustrations of the kind of practices I’m searching for:

Please note that I am not asking for examples of what happens in small groups or Sunday classes. I’m completely in favor of those, but for this book, I want to focus on participation in the main worship service of the congregation.

If you can point me to a source for one or more practices of this sort, I’d love to hear from you.

Comments (4)

Stan Dickhoff (8/25/2015 1:25:21 PM)
In two congregations I have seen this work: Members of the congregation compose a series of devotionals and small group study guides that coincide with a sermon series. Not unlike the Warren "Purpose Driven" book except that it was much more close to home.
Joy (8/25/2015 11:56:26 AM)
• Praying for each other meaningfully. On several occasions during morning worship we were urged to pray for each other meaningfully. For example, once before taking communion we were encouraged to pray with someone. Before praying for the sister next to me, I asked her if there was any un-confessed sin in her life and she started crying. She then shared that she was involved with a married man and lost his child but was not out of the relationship. I dried her tears, encouraged her to say her own prayer of repentance, then prayed for her before we took communion together. I believe she was relieved to share that without feeling judged. Yet, I think she appreciated also being held accountable to being right before God to take communion.
Larry Peabody (8/25/2015 2:53:56 PM)
Thank you, Stan.
Larry Peabody (8/25/2015 2:55:56 PM)
Joy, that is a great example. How did the church leader prepare the congregation for praying for one another like this? Was there any pushback? Do you know any stories from others?

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