It can’t have escaped attention for those who regularly come to King’s Gate Church that we are having more Open Meetings currently. This is not common in the church today!
We passionately believe in Eph 4:16 which says that ‘every joint supplies’ and that ‘every part does its share’ and we also passionately believe in 1 Cor 14:26 which states: ‘Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification.’
I feel that we are a little cold, a little dull, a little out of shape when it comes to ministering to each other. But I don’t think that means we should stop doing it. On the contrary, I believe it’s time to press in. You have what I need in Christ. And I can share something that you will benefit from too. Led by the Spirit, not by a minister. We can ALL minister.
I was reminded the other day that we had some splendid material on Open Meetings from our good friend Matthew Moore, on Sat Nov 3rd 2018 – I thought it would be timely to type out my notes from the meeting. Can I emphasize that these thoughts were shared with us, and may not apply in every place! Matthew was speaking from experience of our Body Ministry meetings several decades ago now, but also from his experience more recently in Bournemouth.
If after reading this, something hits you, please do try it or let the leadership team know. We are continuing two Open Meetings a month at least until April 2020, God willing, so there is plenty of opportunity for us to grow in these things.
If you wanted to get more detail than this (and some of this may need some deciphering) go to our website and you can listen to his talks – this is the SECOND section, on the practicalities of how to have an open meeting. Enjoy!
Notes on Matthew Moore, Open Meetings
There is very little in the NT on how to have a meeting. Don’t be too prescribed. Give as much freedom as possible.
1 Cor 12 and 1 Cor 14.
1 Cor 13 – without this chapter, the others are destructive. Read it through.
We can’t meet this standard of 1 Cor 13 but we should remind ourselves of this. Sometimes I might not have the patience, but someone in the church will. ‘The strong do what they can, the weak suffer what they must.’
The Lord intended a different picture. ‘The strong suffer what they must, the weak do what they can.’
The weak – to be heard in church. Two ends of the room – to one lot life, joy and hope: and death, discouragement, to another. We have to find the Lord’s answer to this. Cover both ends of the room.
You might have thought the meeting was wonderful, but to someone else they thought it was terrible.
Some need to be told to buck up. For others, this message will destroy them. Shared life – we need to know the Body.
1 Cor 13 v. 7 ‘Bears all things.’ Might be a period when it falls on one person, but they can’t do it all the time.
STARTING: Not on time! Starting WELL is important. There is opposition. Could be your week. We need to win a victory if we don’t start well. Win the victory at the start, if at all possible. The ‘bad week’ must go on the altar.
1. Stand together. Don’t spread out too much. ‘Hallelujah I’m free’. If we’re spread out, we’re on our own. Don’t spread the chairs out in a hall.
In a living room it’s a bit different.
Everyone standing in the middle, or sat round together. Three songs in, sit down. But kicking off, we do it together. We are the Lord’s people, together as one.
2. Start with a song everyone knows. Something easy to sing. A chance to lay your week on the altar. Sacrifice of praise: I don’t want to praise God but I’m going to do it anyway.
3. Listening. Never tell someone who struggles to speak, to stop.
4. If you’ve already spoken three times, please don’t speak again! Save it. Two times is probably enough. If it’s a meeting fro everyone to share, and you’ve been speaking for ten minutes, that’s long enough.
5. If someone else has spoken for ten minutes, don’t contribute for more than five. After a third person speaks, that’s enough. A posh meal with several courses. Major piece of sharing. After a piece of beef, you won’t want turkey, no matter how good it is. Five minutes is probably plenty.
6. Something of weight needs a response. It can be hard if you’ve already got a revelation. It can come out another time. Should be a response on for example ‘grace’. A declaration.
7. Different courses: ‘Word of the Lord for the meeting’. If you can’t get your word in, speak to someone who can create a gap for you. Don’t put someone on the spot. Identify someone who’s going to speak first. People sometimes have been spoken over, and someone else is quicker. Don’t forget, the man at the pool of Siloam who couldn’t get to the water in time – Jesus healed him anyway.
8. Imagination and variety: everyone seek the Lord on grace this week. 50% will struggle and not do it. Don’t assume that everyone else will have done it.
9. Planned meetings – prepared over weeks. We’ve had some good ones in Bournemouth. Everyone takes part. e.g. Anna and Ruth about two months, prepared a day for the church. 10-15 people. 3 groups. Mobile phone. Photograph anything that shares the Lord on the whatsapp. Midday, particular pub. Had a meal together. Pm something on the armour of God. Meeting in the evening. Painting. Anna and Ruth took hours in preparation. There was a fun treasure hunt for everyone. New eyes for everything. Well-known songs, passages – making aspects of the meeting bespoke for individuals. How about a set of awards. No one told Anna and Ruth to do it. It came out of love.
When someone has an idea, the others should say yes. It can be a sacrifice, offering yourself to the Lord.
Willingness to listen to each other. Some people create their own space.
10. Have a topic, but you can bring anything. 6 months of meetings for a church. Take something and really go at it, not just the jewels on the surface. Book of John, the seven I Ams. Israel in the wilderness. ‘I am the gate’. Red Sea. Open it. Church in Holland did loads on the ‘I Ams’.
Default meeting style – that’s okay, but it WILL run out. Get to the end. The Lord does not run out, but particular things seem to, e.g. manna… but then you leave the wilderness.
Bournemouth: start with singing. Then share. Then a song at the end.
You should have a standard way of meeting, but look for variety. Different styles suit different people. Anna and Carol got everyone involved without trying.
Sometimes you need people with different experiences to come in. NT church, people do toing and froing. There is a need for interaction between groups in different places. Just brothers and sisters. More creativity in the Body. Get input from other places.
Whatever’s big in us is the Lord. For example, at CCF (former King’s Gate) there was a victory and discovery in praise and worship that has never died.
e.g. Reading church, a revelation of prayer. When you fight and push through, God will reveal himself. The Lord reveals different things in different places.
As life fades in one place, there will be restoration in another.