About Jesus Steve Sweetman
My Journey Through The Ecclesiastical Maze
All Meetinged Out
Hebrews 10:25 says.
“let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of
doing.”. I’ve talked
about the Sunday morning meetings earlier.
Now I‘d like to address meetings in general.
As I write these words
I’m almost fifty seven years old and I’ve attended more than ten
thousand Christian meetings in my life to date.
I was first brought to a church meeting while in the arms of my
mother as a baby, and I’ve been returning ever since.
So I am writing from a measure of experience.
I began getting
“meetinged out”, as I call it, after
returning home from Bible college in 1977.
It seemed that Bible college was just one big meeting that lasted
for months. The meetings at
college I benefited most from were those impromptu gatherings with my
friends in our dorms. That’s
only to be expected because our friendships in the Body of Christ are
fundamental to church.
By the mid 1980’s my
boredom with excessive meetings intensified. In
those days I felt that to be a good Christian, and for me that meant a
good Charismatic Christian, I had to be rich.
That was a problem because I wasn’t rich.
The pressure was always on to attend all sorts of conferences, in
all sorts of expensive hotels, in all sorts of big cities across
One such weekend men’s
convention was held in Washington
While at this conference
my friend took an elevator up from the underground parking lot into the
hotel where he thought we were staying.
Upon entering the lobby of the hotel from the elevator he saw
scores of very husky and hefty looking women.
Canadian singer songwriter Bruce Cockburn had a hit song back
then entitled “Wondering Where The Lions Are”.
Well, my friend wasn’t wondering where the lions were. He was
wondering where his brothers in Christ were because he had landed
himself into the midst of the National U. S. Transvestite Convention.
What a shock for a small town Canadian guy.
After noticing that he had taken the wrong elevator to the wrong
hotel, he crossed the street to the right hotel where he felt much more
comfortable with his brothers in Christ.
By the time the 1990’s
rolled around I was pretty well “meetinged out” for good, especially
when it came to expensive weekend conferences that were advertised to
change your life but never did. What
really changed my life over the years was my interaction with Jesus and
those He had placed me with in the Body of Christ, and I didn’t need
lots of money to be with Jesus and my friends.
In the church I was
associated with during the 1990’s we were expected to attend weekend
conventions. In 2001 a
couple of us just decided to stay home. We ended up being branded as
uncooperative and uncommitted by leadership.
Personally speaking, I’d rather be out serving Jesus in some
practical way than just sitting in another meeting.
While walking our dog
just a month ago my wife and I met an acquaintance who asked us “where
we were going Sunday mornings these days”,
as if it was normal practice for Christians to move from one
Sunday morning meeting to another every so often.
I guess now that I think of it, moving from place to place is
pretty well normal practice these days.
When this acquaintance found out that we weren’t going anywhere
on Sundays, he tried to persuade us to attend the Sunday meeting he
attended. I told him that
even though we did not attend a Sunday meeting we were still in
compliance with Hebrews 10:25. We
were still gathering with other Christians, but just not on a Sunday
morning and in a building that most people call church.
That was hard for him to comprehend.
If you notice, Hebrews
10:25 does not tell us when to assemble, where to assemble, or who to
assemble with. As a matter
of fact, no where in the New Testament can you find words telling us
where to meet, when to meet, how often to meet, and who to meet with.
What it does talk about is what to do when we meet.
That’s found in 1 Corinthians 14, but is seldom done in church
today. So we’ve majored on what the Bible doesn’t say while
neglecting what it does say. I’d
appreciate meetings more if they followed New Testament teaching.
If you look at the
sentence before Hebrews 10:25 you will see why the writer of Hebrews
tells us to gather together, and it has nothing to do with a Sunday
meeting. It has nothing to do with listening to a sermon, giving an
offering, or just sitting in a pew.
Verse 24 tells us that when we gather together “we should spur
one another on to love and good deeds”.
Hopefully our meetings do just that. I’d
suggest that the good deeds we’re supposed to encourage each other to
do in meetings actually take place outside of church meetings.
This is not usually the case.
Many if not most of the good works we do take place in a meeting
and in a church building. I
think that many of us spend more time than necessary in meetings and not
enough time out doing the will of the Lord in whatever capacity He has
Our meetings might well
be in the process of change anyway. For example, in one nearby Canadian
city the city council is reviewing changes to their property bylaws
concerning the creation of new subdivisions in relation to religious
groups and their buildings. The
proposed change limits the space available for a religious building in
new sub-divisions to one lot for every ten thousand residents.
When I say “religious building”, I don’t mean
“buildings belonging to Christians”.
I mean any religious building.
Christians would have to compete with other religious groups for
that one plot of land. The
city is also considering limiting the number of people that can attend a
religious meeting in a home to no more than twenty people.
The reason for this is due to parking restrictions for cars on
So as you can see, our
western governments are beginning to put the squeeze on us.
We might well be forced to meet in groups of twenty or less, and
in places that aren’t a traditional church building.
With this in mind we might want to rethink the whole structure of
church, including our meetings. This
may not be acceptable to you
at the moment. If it’s
not, I’d suggest that you consider how the Christian church will
survive in a society that is fast becoming indifferent and even hostile
to our cause. The
ecclesiastical maze might well be forced to make many changes that it
may not like, but might actually be the will of our Lord in the long