Chapter 10: Meetings: A Means, Not an End
MEETINGS are not the pinnacle of Christian service. If we are not living it in our homes, with our families and roommates, and taking it to the streets and jobs…then our meetings, no matter how formal or how “free,” will be a dangerous farce. The “excellent meetings” will be a very deceitful substitute for a corporate Christ‑life that truly celebrates Jesus together in Life, as well as in meetings. It’s extremely misleading to say or act like “meetings” are what Christianity is all about (even when filled with lively praise). This is deceiving because it seems “so spiritual” to sing songs and to pray and to hear powerful teaching from the Word of God. However, a glimpse into the Life of Jesus, and the record of His Church, can only lead us to the conclusion that “spiritual” meetings are not the essence of Christianity. Those times together will only be wasted (in God’s sight — Isa.1:10‑20) if we aren’t abiding in Christ with our families, on the job, and in the shopping malls. What’s the point of singing songs together before a meal, when the whole church is together on Saturday or Sunday afternoon, if it would never cross our minds to sing at home, or when people are visiting?
Note the way we subconsciously categorize our lives. Rip out the religious exercises no matter how “neat” they seem to be; they are only litter, unless the undergirding of the whole thing is life. Our goal is not to establish a new “informal” tradition. On the contrary, the idea is that our meetings be undergirded by our lives being hidden in Christ — a celebration and overflow of real life. Whether everyone participates by bringing a word of instruction, revelation or hymn, or whether we have two songs, a prayer and a paid Bible class teacher to deliver a lesson — regardless of which end of the spectrum we’re on, no one could disagree that the meeting will be wasted if our lives aren’t committed to being buried in Jesus 24‑hours‑a‑day.
The Kingdom of God is neither here nor there, it’s within you. “The time will come when you’ll neither worship me in Jerusalem or on this mountain.” It’s not meetings that Jesus is after. “The Kingdom of God consists not of mere talk, but power” (1Cor.4:20). It is imperative that our meetings flow out of the fellowship of living for and in Jesus together, not a routine of scheduled services. Our gatherings MUST be the overflow of our life in Jesus together. What we bring to our God and our Family in Christ at a gathering is a real relationship with Christ Jesus Himself, and the overflow of the treasures in the storehouse of your heart.
The only real contribution any of us can make is who we are, not an external contribution to make a meeting better. Do you sing to Jesus, as to a living person, face to face, in your private time with Him? If not, of what value is it to be swept up in religious “group dynamics” to sing to Him in a meeting? I know that you see what I mean. Work this deeply into your life, brothers and sisters. Work Him deeply into your life, and the meetings will take care of themselves. Let’s keep pushing on together in life continuously lived for, and in, Christ.