How can the Church return to the original model?
Are Church services really the best model?
Repeating what I said earlier, there are churches with enlightened leadership who are already doing things hebraically and have found a way for the Body of Christ to work together for all of these purposes. But for the rest of us, we need to work at it, we may even need to think differently.
Here’s a typical Order of Service. It’s the recommended Service of the Word for the Church of England.
The minister welcomes the people with the Greeting. Authorized Prayers of Penitence may be used here or in the Prayers. The Venite, Kyries, Gloria, a hymn, song, or a set of responses may be used. The Collect is said either here or in the Prayers.
The Liturgy of the Word
This includes: readings (or a reading) from Holy Scripture, a psalm, or, if occasion demands, a scriptural song, a sermon, an authorized Creed, or, if occasion demands, an authorized Affirmation of Faith.
These include: intercessions and thanksgivings, the Lord's Prayer
The service concludes with a blessing, dismissal or other liturgical ending.
Although motives are different now, it is still the same model from the 4th Century, with an order of service led from the front with those in the pews repeating set liturgy. Some are happy with this model and if they feel it meets their needs then who am I to argue?
Then there’s the model that seems popular at modern televised “revivals”; an hour of repetitive rock music, followed by a preacher with an exciting message, followed by “a time of ministry” led from the front.
It’s still basically the same model. It’s led from the front and individual worshippers have little input and minimal interaction with proceedings.
At this point I may need to make clear that these are not articles that cover all aspects of “running a church”, including such things as structure and administration. We are purely looking at fulfilling our mission statement, which I will now repeat.
We need to provide an environment where we can all meet God individually, discover and exercise all of our gifts (not just spiritual gifts) and callings and to worship the living God, with the correct application of His Word and an acknowledgement of the debt the Church has to the Jewish people, including a desire to bless them.
There are basically two aspects here, a familiar one to anyone who works in the media or entertainment industries; content and delivery.
Both are equally important and both are self-describing. We need to ensure that we have good relevant content and that we deliver it to people in the most effective way. Yes, it sounds a bit cold and very business-like, but that’s just how it is. We are being practical and I’m sure that God has no issues with this. Hebraic thinking is very much ‘getting your hands dirty’ and ‘saying it how it is’.
There needs to be good content. This doesn’t mean that it has to be the same type of content every time we meet. And, of course, much of the content is going to be suggested by God Himself as the meeting flows. And we can trust God that He will make sure that there is good content and that it will flow together however we may get in the way and try to control things.
So perhaps we start with just a single Bible passage, suggested by a different person each week or decided on by prayerful consensus at the start of the meeting? Or perhaps we map out every aspect of the content for the service, perhaps we wish to cover a theme and prepare Bible readings, worship songs, prayers and teachings accordingly. That’s also fine but, if this is the case, be open to Divine interference and don’t fight it if it comes. The best laid plans of mice and men (and pastors) …
It is delivery that is going to be the issue as we are traditionally used to just one basic style, the led-from-the-front service. Some services, such as the smaller house church gatherings, are often led-from-the-front without people realising it, with one or two people dominating, just to push things along.
As far as delivery is concerned, how is it possible to move away from the Greek lead-from-the-front model and towards the more interactive inclusive Hebraic model?
There is only one answer to this. In the words of St. Nike, Just do it!
This is an extract from the book, Hebraic Church, available for £10 at http://www.sppublishing.com/hebraic-church-101-p.asp