What Was the Order of Service?
As stated before, the modus operandi of the church is not difficult to find in Scripture; it is actually very clear. What makes it difficult is breaking man-made traditions; after all, many of these things have been in place for hundreds of years; they have survived the test of time; so, it must be of God… Right? Never mind that there is no biblical basis for it! Thankfully, there is a clear biblical order of service. Let’s start with Acts 2:42,
And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.
There are four foundational elements when God’s people gather:
- Devotion to the apostles’ teachings.
- Devotion to fellowship.
- Devotion to breaking bread together.
- Devotion to praying together.
These four elements represent the Modus operandi of the church. Coming together just to eat is not enough; coming together to watch a football game is not enough. Fellowship by itself is not enough. These four elements must be the essential part of our gatherings; this is how God’s people are supposed to come together. We must be students of the apostles’ teachings, we must fellowship with one another, we must eat together, and we must pray together. Romans 12:4-8 gives us more details on how God’s people gatherings are supposed to look like,
For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.
All of us are called to use our gifts; Paul is telling us “Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them…” An essential part of the apostles’ teachings was the free flow of the Spiritual Gifts. In First Corinthians 14:26 we see more of how participatory our gatherings are supposed to be; never a ONE-MAN-SHOW,
What then, brothers? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up.
Where is the worship leader in this Scripture? It says “…each one has a hymn.” But it does not stop there, look at the participation; each one has… a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Beloved, this is not boring; this is participation, this is the Body getting involved; not just seating down waiting for the worship leader and the pastor to do it all. At the center of the order of service is active participation of the Body.
In the current Constantine structure, there is simply no room for this kind of participation. Folks just seat there, Wednesday after Wednesday; Sunday after Sunday. They listen to a few songs by the worship leader, they pick up an offering, they listen to sermon, maybe pray for people after sermon and they are done. Some folks do not even open their Bibles, they don’t even have a relationship with God because they just wait for the pastor to spoon-feed them every week. They are so condition to go to a building, that they lose sight of the biblical reality that we are the church. In the apostolic model you cannot get away with that kind laziness.
To be continued…