Table Rustic
Helpful Tidbits for Organic Church Life                                             Aprit 21, 2008
In This Issue
The Building Up of the Body
My Reflections
Quick Links
The Banqueting Table does not necessarily endorce all contents of videos

Among other things, one of the things I do is study and encourage organic church expressions. While "out and about" I consistently get this question: What does your organic church do when gathered?
Frankly, I do the best I can to avoid describing what it is we do. After all, copying what we do would, in all likelihood, be an unauthentic expression for that particular gathering. To be authentic, the church gathered should take on an indigenous feel, taking into account the gathered's personalities, giftings, and so forth.
At the same time, there are distinct purposes for which the church gathers. One of those purposes is mutual edification (expressed in all sorts of ways).

THIS WEEK'S QUESTION/TOPIC: The church gathered
The Building Up of the Body 
Excerpt from Rethinking the Wineskin by Frank Viola
Rethinking the WineskinsIf the purpose of the first-century church meeting was not for corporate worship, evangelism, sermonizing, or fellowship, what was it for?

According to Scripture, the governing purpose of the church meeting is mutual edification.


1 Corinthians 14:26 puts it plainly:


What is the outcome then, brethren? WHEN YOU ASSEMBLE, EACH ONE has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for EDIFICATION (NASB).


Hebrews 10:24-25 puts it even plainer:


And let us consider how to STIMULATE ONE ANOTHER to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but ENCOURAGE ONE ANOTHER, and all the more, as you see the day drawing near (NASB, see also Rom. 14:19; 1 Thess. 5:11; and Heb. 3:13-14).


The meeting of the church envisioned in Scripture allowed for every member to participate in the building up of the Body (Eph. 4:16). Mutual encouragement was the hallmark of the gathering. "Every one of you" was its most outstanding characteristic (1997:25).

My Reflections

Saturday night Aimee and I hosted a Passover Seder. While cleaning up afterwards, a lady with whom I've been in fellowship approached me to ask if she could initiate prayer for a man who was in attendance, but not regularly part of our fellowship.

After she got about five words out, she stopped herself. "Oh, that's right," she said to me, "I don't have to ask you to follow the Spirit's leading." I smiled as to say, "You've got it."
Then, my friend turned toward the man and said, "I felt the Lord ask me to pray for you. May I pray for you?" To which the man responded, "I would be foolish to turn down prayer. I am humbled."
What ensued was a title wave of edification for the Spirit affirmed the man, encouraging him to walk in obedience and faith.
In the end, it's not so important how it happens, but that it happens. And what's the it? It's mutual edification, prompted by the Spirit, played out by the Christian who's constant prayer is, Here I am, Lord. Use me.
Hope this was of some benefit to you.

Traver Dougherty
The Banqueting Table