The Glorious Church


At the 2009 GC Conference, this topic was presented for discussion and was met with much passionate response. In fact, there was so much participation that we decided to post it on the forum for continued discussion…and for those who were not able to be there to add their comments as well.

The topic centered upon how the church will operate without a permanent, central meeting place, or what we call our “church building”. Many concerns were expressed, and ideas exchanged about this. And…there have been happenings since the GC Conference to further promote the possibility of the following scenario actually occurring – in our day! Here (in quotation marks below) is what was presented as background for the much animated dialogue that followed:

“Let’s suppose that 10 years from now, we are living on the brink of total governance: that the economy has collapsed and is now being tightly controlled by the government; that most Americans are struggling financially just to survive; that speech is being tightly controlled; that all dissenting opinions are regarded as unpatriotic and subject to prosecution; that any public speech that seems to be critical of the new morality is regarded as hate speech and is subject to prosecution; that Christianity is looked upon as a renegade and unpatriotic religion; and that government is confiscating any church building they can on the flimsiest of pretexts.

Now let’s suppose that because of the new reality, most assemblies have no central meeting place and the impoverished flock is scattered over a large geographical area. The best most church members can do is assemble together in small groups in private homes.”

There are several areas of concern should the above state of affairs occur
1.How would the people of an assembly recognize the overseeing elders?
2.What would be the role of the heads of the homes where people are assembling?
3.What would be the role of elders in the home gatherings?
4.In what ways would those who are not elders participate?
5.Does each local assembly have enough elders in place now to do the work? If not, what is being done about it?
6.How would the saints be equipped for their works of ministry? What would they be equipped to do?
7.How would people operate without any elders present?

The real concern is: How will the church operate without a “church building”?
So, the question presented to start the discussion was something like this:
"How would the elders oversee the church, in any kind of meaningful way - without a church building?"

Any comments?

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Greetings Brother, what GC are you speaking of?
Yes, (thanks, Sid) The Glorious Church Conference. I'm sorry, I just kinda sorta took it for granted and just used initials.
Which system has the better chance of coping or operating in the above mentioned situation, the much better known, traditional, one-man pastor method or the lesser known plural eldership structure?
Adaptability certainly seems to be the keyword. Who can describe the sense of helplessness that could overcome especially the “Lone-Ranger” pastor after the permanent loss of the congregational church building? But there is more that could (may) be added to the scenario. With the rapid pace of Constitutional violations taking place as they are, lets also consider these possibilities piled on top of already dire circumstances:

•In my opinion, TV will probably not be taken away since it is too effective for programming the masses (mass psychology)…but what if all inter-civilian communications are taken away – telephone, snail mail…and particularly, the internet?

•Transportation could be very restricted.

How would these added possibilies affect and change the way things are being done the local assemblies and the church as a whole?
It could possibly, and most likely, be severe restriction and manipulation of these communication tools. It is already being done in other areas, such as those sent to prison for none crimes (Sherry Peal Jackson, Jim Trafficant just to name some). It looks, to me, like the pencil for drawing the line needs to be sharpened now. More and more Christian principles and values are coming into the crosshairs of “political” gun sights.

I, too, believe that God will have His glorious church. But, it is hard to discern just when. Oppression has gone on for centuries, and it looks to me like it will still do so unless the equipping ministry can quickly get it together. So, I’m thinking that the event of complete government takeover could possibly happen in the too near future. If so, what happens to the mega-church structure congregation? Or, for that matter, the small local church congretation?

Here’s one problem I see, and am mostly concerned about: Many people travel quite a distance by automobile to an assembly in another city/town. With severe travel restrictions, it most likely leaves only the possibility of meeting in the local area where one lives…most likely only within walking distance. This, of course, would mean more and smaller, assemblies scattered throughout America. The problem is how will each assembly function? The way I see it, under the present and most prominent leadership style, the largest majority of these “assemblies” will be absolutely and totally unprepared!

• Where will there plural elder leadership come from?
• Will God raise them up quickly in each assembly?
• Do we have enough time to train many for this?
• Or will each assembly, or possibly each individual, have to learn very quickly to lean upon God for themselves?

This would be very terrifying since most have been conditioned to do practically nothing in the local congregation (except maybe to attend and pay tithes) in the prevailing leadership structure. It seems the one-man leadership has by and large fostered (unintentionally) the attitude of complacency and apathy, as you’ve stated. Just leave everything for the pastor to take care of. The above scenario could very easily throw the disciples into a state of panic and helpless hopelessness...thus scattered and many come to naught.
We've been operating in a "team" concept for nearly 8 years, and for the last year, we've discovered deeper truths related to elders (plural) serving a single assembly. Most of the people enjoy this concept and have accepted it. Only a minor few do not understand it and are comfortable with their paradigms.

The growth (maturity) we've seen, however, is answer enough for me. The only way we will effectively reach and teach our world is through the Biblical model of elders!

One lady in our church who is a little simple-minded gave a very profound testimony recently. Her testimony was a confirmation that we're moving in the right direction. She stated, "I'm thankful that we don't have just one, but four different pastors to lead us."

As well, new believers that have recently been born again are excited to know that our church in a small town can offer so much for them through the paradigm of elders and deacons.

And finally, our men are growing as they accept their God-given responsibility to "pastor" their homes. Their worship is becoming more pure. Their wives and children are maturing. It's a win-win!
Quote - Myron: ...our men are growing as they accept their God-given responsibility to "pastor" their homes.

This is interesting. Can you comment more about this?
Donnie Gillum said:
Quote - Myron: ...our men are growing as they accept their God-given responsibility to "pastor" their homes.

This is interesting. Can you comment more about this?

Headship begins in the home. The stronger our homes are, the stronger our assembly becomes. These men are taking more responsibility day by day, such as:

1) Teaching
2) Providing
3) Praying

As well, our men are worship leaders. I've been in many churches where the men sit like bumps on pickles and the ladies do all the worshiping. However, in our church, you'll see men standing up front with their hands lifted, other men running the aisles, some men leaping and dancing, and still other men on their knees before their Maker. Our ladies also do worship, but the men are the first ones. They lead by example!

Does this help answer your question?
Sure this is one thing I'm trying to accomplish in our home-group meetings...thus my interest. Just wondering how you are going about it.

When our home-group goes to a home besides mine, I have the man of that house to lead as much of the meeting as I can. He doesn't have to do everything, but I caution against delegating everything and actually doing nothing himself. He may open the meeting by already having someone to lead us in some worship songs, and ask if anyone has something to share with the group and guide some discussion about it. I've got some men that have never ever done anything like this before...but they are doing it.

So...I am interested in as much detail as you are willing to give. LOL!

Our congregation meets twice on Sunday and once on Wednesday in our church building for worship, prayer, and the word. In addition to this, there are numerous "small groups" (similar to your home-groups) that meet throughout each week. Some are weekly, some are biweekly, some meet monthly, and still others meet spontaneously. These groups meet for the purpose of growth, edification, and empowerment.

Some of these groups meet in homes, and others use the church building. On occasion, some of these meetings take place at the local coffee shop or a restaurant. I was at one such meeting just recently where seven men gathered at Tim Horton's. This meeting brought about a great unity that strengthened the men gathered there.

We do not schedule regular home group meetings, nor do we mandate lessons that should be taught. Instead, we allow for the flow of the leading of the Spirit. For example, one of our deacons was meeting with another family recently. They were scheduled to discuss the second commandment from Exodus and how it connect to relationship with God. However, this deacon and his wife felt led of the Spirit to speak on other topics that this couple was facing. God ministered and confirmed things to this other couple and they grew in the grace and knowledge of the Lord.

We base our paradigm off a "free-market-society" mindset. In a nutshell, this means that we allow the leaders to follow the leading of the Spirit. This may seem risky to some, but this helps to train our leaders how to flow in the Spirit.

I'll share more as it comes to me.

This sounds so good as this seems sorta what I am leaning toward. Here are some thoughts that came to me today in prayer:
-Learning how to operate under His guidance
-To be guided in Truth, decisions and actions

Also, I believe this will be a key feature for "survival" should the above scenario (or similar) happen (assuming you've read from the start of this post.)
Donnie Gillum said:
This sounds so good as this seems sorta what I am leaning toward. Here are some thoughts that came to me today in prayer:
-Learning how to operate under His guidance
-To be guided in Truth, decisions and actions

Also, I believe this will be a key feature for "survival" should the above scenario (or similar) happen (assuming you've read from the start of this post.)

Yes, I read from the beginning of the thread and agree that the stronger we are OUTSIDE the building, the better equipped we are for anything that may happen as we approach the coming of the Lord and the end of time.

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