I have mentioned before that we pride ourselves on the first century model but fall short in several of the most important areas they practiced. We have this really bad tendency of making tradition into torah. Once we have done something long enough, somehow, people get the idea that it is the only proper way for it to be done and anything else is sin. It is like the story of the daughter who always cut off the ends of the meatloaf(?) because her mother always did it that way. Only later when she asked her mother why she did that did she find out that was because her pan was too small. I think some people actually believe that the number of songs we have before the prayer is dictated in scripture somewhere.
It is clear in scripture that the early church met in homes and not church buildings (Acts 5:42 as well as plenty of archaeological evidence). They were not focused on where they met but on who/whose they were and what they were doing. You don’t hear any sermons about Paul or Peter requiring worship in homes or anywhere else but they do say worship is important. It wasn’t until the 4th century that church buildings began to be built. Now, after 1700 years of practice, people think that is the only way God allows for people to worship Him. Churches often have LIFE groups that meet at the building to placate those who think that is the only place to worship. I knew an elder once who said as long as he was alive there would always be a worship service on Sunday night at the building and so that church had BOTH a one hour worship followed by a two hour LIFE group meeting (in homes and a group at the building).
I have seen spiritual growth in people that may have never happened if their worship had been confined to the church building. There have been people brought to Christ all over the world who would have never stepped foot in church but would step foot into someone’s home and now they are Christians. I think we have made huge strides in making this adjustment away from the facility way of thinking but I think there is more change ahead. This is just something that people in our churches need to be educated about. They take it for granted that the way they have done it/seen it done/heard it preached is the only right way because they haven’t heard anything different. One thing I love about the Church of Christ is that if you can show someone something has a biblical foundation, they are normally very good about it.
I am not saying that we abandoned our buildings and lock the door. I am saying that we should educate people to no longer be bound in their thinking to limiting worship to the building. This has far greater implications than just where we meet – building vs. homes. It is a mindset that affects one’s view of God, church, tradition, and a whole slew of other things.
Next up…probably translations