Archive for November, 2010
In earlier articles you could already read that we find it considerably important to come together as Christian brothers and sisters.
We must assemble or come together to feel the solidarity with each other in connection with Christ in our meetings and in our daily live. Those believers that come together have to show expression of their belief and have to give a clear picture to others of their agreement.
In the light of the Bible, we look at why it is so important to come together and to form together a community.
Coming together or assembling, has not only to come together to a place but also getting involved with each other. Coming together is giving an opportunity to talk with each other. It can give occasions to lead discussions and decisions over the order of a service. In meetings first there can be considered how we will realize the service and how we can give the belief community further growth power. The entire structure of the ecclesia can come part of the discussion in a meeting, but also the contact with the men outside the community of religious and between the religious mutually.
This coming together or gathering can be a sign of togetherness by which we brotherly unite, meeting each other but also getting the chance to bring new people to the union. Also it is not bad to have reunions or special meetings like Bible-study Weekends, Bible Camps etc. on regular moments to reunite with other Christadelphians.
To confer or hold congresses, or larger assemblies could also be fascinating enterprises that are worth considering and generally can contribute to the welfare of the local ecclesia as well as to the general larger feeling of solidarity. Bible-days, Bible weekends, Bible-weeks, Biblecamps and other more than one day events can give an extra dimension at meetings.
Already in the antiquity, one had the “municipality of the assembly of Israel [Hebrew: qehal ‘`adhath-Jis·ra·´el']“. (Exodus 12:6) and important and larger events were taken to hold special meetings. Organized groups of men as the “municipalities of Israel” (Leviticus 16:17; Joshua 8:35; God” (Nehemiah 13:1), “municipality of Jehovah” (Deuteronomy 23:2, 3; Micha 2:5), and “Jehovah’s municipality” (Numeri 20:4; 1Chonicals 28:8) came then with each other specially to allot time for God and the community of His supporters.8:14), “municipality of the true
There were different kinds of meetings of men, as for religious goals (Deuteronomy 9:10; 18:16; 1 Kings 8:65; Psalms 22:25; 107:32), for the treating of administrative matters (1 Kings 12:3) but unfortunately also for warfare (1 Samuel 17:47; Ezra 16:40). Today we can concentrate us fortunately mostly on the peaceful activity and on the daily service of the local belief community or ek·kle’ si·a, the ecclesia.
Formerly the public assemblies (Gr. : su·na·go’ ge) found mainly place in the Synagogue where one generally assembled to meet, collect, and to bring men in contact with the Word of God. And that must also be the principal purpose of our meetings or assemblies.
Jesus has brought a lot of men up from their seat to collect around him and who met regularly with his disciples to give their spiritual instruction. As these apostles after Jesus’ death came together , as on the Whit Sunday in 33 C. T., when the Holy Spirit was poured out on those who were together (Acts 2:1-4) we in imitation of these examples have to call and to bring together disbelieving people together with Christians to meet, to study the Word of God and to clear viewpoints in this world and to take the right stand, concerning the manner on which we have to live according the Will of God and to what we are going to do with the world.
Regular meetings will give us the occasion to hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; strong and unshaking to the hope we acknowledge, and will create occasions to move one another at all times to love and good works. This stirring up like a fire among ourselves compassionate affection and good works can stimulate the whole community, the congregation, the parish but also the rest of the village. Therefore we should not be giving up our meetings, as is the way of some, but keeping one another strong in faith; and all the more because we should see the day coming near. (Hebrews 10:23- 25)
Like these assemblies previously could take place in the sunagoge, synogue or in the ekklesia or ecclesia (Acts 7:38; 8:1; 13:1; 19:23, 24, 29, 32, 41;12:28; 2 Corinthians:1) the meetings of the followers of Christ could also find place in the house of a fellow believer (Romans 16:5; Philemon 2). Today we also can assemble in each other’s houses, public places or especially for that reason built buildings. But we may certainly not postpone the assembling because we would not have a special building or churches. No, we can build up at flaw of a church our ‘church’ in a usual living room or even in a cafeteria or a restaurant or in a conference hall. The assembling in a private house is natural the most simple and the cheapest way. The coming together in a living room brings a domestic atmosphere to the belief community that can make there then also a full house church .
In small groups, we can form then separate Christian municipalities or “municipalities of God” (Acts of the apostles 15:41; 1 Corinthians 11:16) that can grow into full church communities. In older Dutch translations sometimes the word “church” becomes used in Scriptures, in relation to the Christian municipality, as in 1 Corinthians 16:19 (KB; Leu). Since many people think more of a building think where religious services are held, by the word “church” then of a municipality that practises her religion, the translation “church” can be misleading. Therefore we, as brothers of Christ, give preference to use the word ecclesia as it was used before. The association of the “Church” with the Roman catholic Catholic churches with cross constructions and church tower must become put aside and the Church must be seen as the Body of Christ made up by the collection of religious people. The meeting religious people form together the church. They must feed the church community and make it really happen.
Read more > Congregate, to gather, to meet
In vorige artikelen kon u reeds lezen dat wij het belangrijk vinden om als Christen broeders en zusters samen te komen. Wij moeten bijeenkomen om samen met elkaar de verbondenheid met Christus te voelen in onze bijeenkomsten en in ons dagelijks leven. Het komt er op aan dat gelovigen zich verzamelen om uiting te geven van hun geloof en om naar anderen een duidelijk beeld te geven van hun verbintenis.
Op Christadelphians brengen wij met de voorstelling van de Tag ” samenkomen, vergaderen” een beeld waarover het gaat.
In het licht van de Bijbel onderzoeken wij waarom het zo belangrijk is om samen te komen en om samen een gemeenschap of ecclesia te vormen.
Het bijeenkomen, bij elkaar komen of samenkomen kan gelegenheden geven om besprekingen te voeren en beslissingen te nemen om over te gaan tot eredienst. In samenkomsten kan dan eerst overlegd worden hoe wij de eredienst gaan verwezenlijken en hoe wij verder de geloofsgemeenschap groeikracht kunnen geven. De gehele structuur van de ecclesia kan in een bijeenkomst ter sprake komen, maar ook de omgang met de mensen buiten de gemeenschap van gelovigen en de gelovigen onderling.
Dit samen komen of samenrotten kan een teken van samen gaan zijn waarbij wij ons broederlijk verenigen, elkaar ontmoeten maar ook de kans krijgen om nieuwe mensen mede te brengen en ook samen zitting te houden. Ook is het niet slecht om op regelmatige tijdstippen te reuniëren en andere Christadelphians te treffen.
Confereren, congresseren, of grotere vergaderingen houden zijn ook boeiende ondernemingen die het overwegen waard zijn en algemeen kunnen bijdragen tot het welzijn van de plaatselijke ecclesia maar ook tot het algemeen groter gevoelen van verbondenheid. Bijbeldagen, bijbelweekends , Bijbelweken, Bijbelkampen en andere meerdere dagen evenementen kunnen een extra dimentie geven aan bijeenkomsten.
Reeds in de oudheid had men de „gemeente der vergadering van Israël [Hebreeuws: qehal' `adhath-Jis·ra·´el']”. (Exodus 12:6) en werden er met belangrijke en grotere gebeurtenissen gelegenheden genomen om speciale bijeenkomsten te houden. Georganiseerde groepen mensen zoals de „gemeente van Israël” (Levieten 16:17; Jozua 8:35; 1 Koningen 8:14), „gemeente van de ware God” (Nehemia 13:1), „gemeente van Jehovah” (Deuteronomium 23:2, 3; Micha 2:5), en „Jehovah’s gemeente” (Numeri 20:4; 1Kronieken 28:8) kwamen dan bij elkaar om speciaal tijd uit te trekken voor God en de gemeenschap van Zijn aanhangers.
Er waren verschillende soorten samenkomsten van mensen, zoals voor religieuze doeleinden (Deuteronomium 9:10; 18:16; 1 Koningen 8:65; Psalmen 22:25; 107:32), voor het behandelen van bestuurlijke aangelegenheden (1 Koningen 12:3) maar ook spijtig genoeg voor oorlogvoering [1 Samuel 17:47; Ezra 16:40 (vergadering)]. In deze tijd kunnen wij ons gelukkig het meest toe leggen op de vredelievende activiteit en op de dagelijkse voorziening van de plaatselijke geloofsgemeenschap of ek·kle’si·a, de ecclesia.
Vroeger vonden de openbare vergaderingen (Gr.: su·na·go’ge) hoofdzakelijk in de Synagoge plaats waar men in het algemeen bijeenkwam om te vergaderen, verzamelen, en mensen in aanraking te brengen met het Woord van God. En dat moet ook het hoofddoel zijn van onze bijeenkomsten of vergaderingen.
Jezus heeft heel wat mensen te been gebracht die zich verzamelden rondom hem en vergaderde regelmatig met zijn discipelen om hun geestelijk onderricht te geven. Zoals deze apostelen na Jezus’ dood bijeen kwamen, zoals op de pinksterdag in 33 G.T., toen de heilige geest werd uitgestort op degenen die aldus bijeen waren (Handelingen 2:1-4) horen wij in navolging van deze voorbeelden ongelovigen op te roepen en bijeenbrengen samen met Christenen om samen te vergaderen, het Woord van God te bestuderen en om duidelijke standpunten in deze wereld in te nemen betreft de wijze waarop wij horen te leven en met de wereld horen om te gaan.
Regelmatige bijeenkomsten zullen ons de gelegenheid geven om zonder wankelen vast te houden aan de openbare bekendmaking van onze hoop en zullen een gelegenheid creëren om er voor te zorgen dat wij allen kunnen groeiën in het geloof en kunnen getrouw blijven. Bijeenkomsten geven de gelegenheid om op elkaar te letten ten einde tot liefde en voortreffelijke werken aan te sporen, het onderling vergaderen niet nalatend, zoals voor sommigen gebruikelijk is, maar als aanmoediging en ondersteuning. (Hebreeën 10:23- 25)
Zoals deze vergaderingen vroeger konden plaatsgrijpen in de sunagoge, synagoge of in de ekklesia of ecclesia. (Handelingen 7:38; 8:1; 13:1; 19:23, 24, 29, 32, 41; 1 Korintiërs 12:28; 2 Korintiërs 1:1), maar ook gewoon plaats konden vinden in het huis van een mede gelovige (Romeinen 16:5; Filémon 2), kunnen wij vandaag bijeenkomen in elkaars huizen, openbare plaatsen of speciaal daartoe bestemde gebouwen. Maar wij mogen het bijeenkomen zeker niet uitstellen omdat wij geen speciaal gebouw of kerk zouden hebben om dat te doen. Neen, wij kunnen aan gebrek van een kerkgebouw onze ‘kerk‘ opbouwen in een gewone huiskamer of zelfs in een cafetaria of een restaurant of in een conferentie zaal. Het bijeenkomen in een privéwoning is natuurlijk het meest eenvoudige en het goedkoopst. Het samen komen in een living brengt een huiselijke sfeer tot de geloofsgemeenschap die daar dan ook een volwaardige huiskerk kan maken.
In kleine groepjes kunnen wij dan afzonderlijke christelijke gemeenten of „gemeenten van God” (Handelingen der apostelen 15:41; 1 Korintiërs 11:16) vormen die kunnen uitgroeien tot volwaardige kerkgemeenschappen. In oudere Nederlandse vertalingen wordt soms het woord „kerk” gebruikt in Schriftplaatsen die betrekking hebben op de christelijke gemeente, zoals in 1 Korintiërs 16:19 (KB; Leu). Aangezien veel mensen bij het woord „kerk” eerder aan een gebouw denken waar religieuze diensten worden gehouden dan aan een gemeente die haar religie beoefend, kan de vertaling „kerk” misleidend zijn. Daarom geven wij als broeders van Christus er de voorkeur aan om eerder het woord ecclesia te gebruiken. De associatie van de “Kerk” met de Rooms Katholieke kerken met kruisconstructies en kerktoren moet terzijde gelegd worden en de Kerk moet aanzien worden als het Lichaam van Christus opgemaakt door de verzameling van gelovigen. De samenkomende gelovigen vormen samen de kerk. Zij moeten de kerkgemeenschap voeden en waar maken.
Lees hier meer over > Verzamelen, bijeenkomen, samenkomen, vergaderen
It is lovely to see how brothers and sisters in the lord can come together and have a blessed time.
It was a unique opportunity for brethren and sisters from fourteen of Ontario’s Christadelphian Ecclesias, and also some from five Illinois Ecclesias to celebrate the recent unification of the spiritual family.
More thoughts on unity: http://ontariopicnic.com/more-thoughts-on-unity/
Structure of an ecclesia and connected expenses
We have come to a turning point in Christianity, because of the many scandals today in the Roman Catholic Church. Care has to be taken that those who leave that church do not lose their fate in God. They now ought to see that the moment has come to turn the tide. For those Catholics who leave their church it is not easy to leave their familiar surroundings to walk and in a quite new world of religion perception of a lot of smaller denominations in Christianity. Those who flee their own Roman Catholic Church, we should offer a springboard to a fresh warm church community in which they can feel themselves at home. We should show them that all Christians ought to form one unity under the wings of Christ Jesus. We as Christians ought to be part of the limbs of Christ which form the Church. We should let them see that all of God’s people make up the church. We are the church together. ‘Church’ is people. That is the view the earliest Christians had of themselves. ‘Church’ is loaded with so many connotations. Let we therefore get them to see that the basic unit of the church in the first three centuries was the ‘household’ or ‘oikos’ (Greek). Oikos refers to the ‘household’ rather than just the building. Households, in New Testament times, included wider family, slaves, servants, clients and in fact one’s ‘sphere of influence’. We as brothers and sisters in Christ should feel bounded together and should not feel that there are any differences between us in rank, colour, and age. Everybody in the community should have the same value. Our binding element should be Christ Jesus, who died for us all. Important is that as his followers we should be like being his brother or sister and should share the love with others as he showed his love for all those around him, and others should be able to notice and to feel that. Jesus went into different houses and showed in them how people could come to his Father. In one upper room he also showed the apostles how they should continue his work and have a meal together with other believers. Around the table he asked them to do in remembrance of him a breaking of the bread and a sharing of the cup of the New Covenant. Jesus did not do that in the temple, but in a hired room in a normal house. We also can either hire a room, use an open or public space or better still, use a living or other room in some ones house. Jesus was reared in a home in a family and as a family man he loved also the atmosphere and fulfilled his ministry often in homes. The house was, as today, the place where the basic unit of society lives – the family. Note the many times we read of Jesus eating with His disciples and with others – in homes.
Disciples were sent out on a door-to-door mission and Jesus also told them to continue their way in case they were not welcome at a certain place. After Pentecost, Christians met in houses. In Romans 16:3-5 and in several other places in the New Testament, reference is made to the church that meets in a home. Work and ministry in homes was part of Paul’s mission journeys. So people of today should get away from that picture of that gothic church building with a church tower, they should see that there are other forms of churches.
We should warm up people to study the Bible. And now when the big buildings, cathedrals and tower churches are left empty for most of the time we should try to bring the people together again to study God’s Word and to worship our Father in heaven. Today the time has come to show who we want to honour. We should take steps and follow in the footsteps of Jesus and his apostles. We have to go out and spread the Good News, but we also have to meet with each other and give honour to the One and Only God, Jehovah/Yahweh. A house church will offer more the occasion to feel part of a group than a big institutional church building or cathedral. There one is more quickly concerned by the event. Being church can more easily become experienced because everybody is concerned more closely.
In Jesus name, we can ask God to be able to build up a church community. He will give us support and also bring us in contact with the right men. But He let us also feel how we still are a part of the world. The worldly worries, concerns and troubles will remain circling the municipality. We always are hanging or fixed at the worldly standards and expectations. Where one stands or goes must one pay something. Stay load, gas and electricity, expenses for materials, moves and so more.
To start off in a village it’s possible to do that just with two or three friends – have a meal together, and share your vision. Plan to encourage one another, share you lives, pray together to seek God’s way forward to be and to do what He wants for you as a gathering and for the community around you.
In our small community it is important to be open to new comers. But we always do have to be aware that we all come from many different experiences in our Christian journey. The ecclesia does not have to have many people; it is more important that those who are present are people who want to share the Good News and want to serve God. However small it is important that they are willing to encourage one another, share life, pray together, read the Bible together, seek, find the truth ans stick to it, and enjoy God and one another.
We must let newcomers know that it is not necessary to have a set ritual or Mass with a missal. We do not need a book containing all the prayers and responses necessary for worshipping God throughout the year. Perhaps a certain order can be seen in the timing of a service. Like having first a welcoming moment, an opening, next a centre part with lots of time to be taken for the Word of God with Bible reading and exhortation, the Breaking of the Bread and then a closure. But there should be no strict format you have to follow or for everyone to agree on minor matters of doctrine for this to happen. It just can be inspiring to have every time a different service. Also we should avoid any regular uttering of preformed repeating texts. For newcomers it can be strange that we should not have to be afraid to create prayers or moments of meditation on the spur of the moment. Having such inspirational moments can bring perhaps some texts that would not be brought fluently enough when it is not a set text, but members should look over that and hear the message. Members of the community should be sympathetic to anybody who dares to open his or her mouth. Understanding has to go out to all those who bring something into the service. To speak out or to sing should be welcome for everybody. Sharing ideas, praying and singing together can make the fire burning in the persons present. And it shall construct of the way of feeling and being part of the church. A worship service has to be one of action and everybody in the ecclesia should be part of that action. All, young or old can contribute.
We must have consideration for the fact that many from the institutional churches often felt at ease because they were not noticed in the mass. In a certain way it is easier to be somewhere in the shade in a big church or behind the pillar in a big building. Sometimes people do not want to be active and we certainly may not force any activity on a newcomer but let him see slowly that as real pupils of the Messiah we should know that we have to follow the master’s example. Though if they do not have the desire to put oneself under the power of a “king” or an institution they should want to belong to the body of Christ, which is the ‘Church’. But we should let them see that the Church of Jesus is not one of keepers of tradition and not one of holders of the worldly thoughts and Hellenistic ideas. The desire to hold faith in a way that allows greater celebration of one’s real life is what should keep together those who form and come to an ecclesia. A hunger for whole-life spirituality. (A wonderful Puritan value.) A hunger for expressions of Christian spirituality and ways of operating that should engage the particular strengths of all those who want to have the feeling to be part of the same body of Christ.
We all should have the desire to explore more deeply aspects of our faith-heritage beyond the particular basis-of-association of a particular church, and to draw upon other traditions and ways. The desire not to be sucked into patterns of displacement activity in the face of a clearly focused “Great Commission”.
The experience of the Risen Lord was an ever-present vibrant reality within the individual and amongst the followers of Christ as they encouraged, blessed, taught and enabled one another, and as they joyously spread the Good News of the Gospel from household to household. Today is should not be different. We all should spread the word and that beautiful message of the Good News the New Covenant and the coming of the Kingdom of God.
By coming together in one place or other we can give each other a moment of blessed time. For us it can create an opportunity to build one another from the teaching we received from the time we could have free to read in the Bible. We should be aware that not everybody has the same chances to spend the same amount on reading the Word of God. Also not everybody has the same gifts to read and understand easily. So we all should help each other to see the light. We should give each other the possibility to bring forward some questions on all sorts of matters. All the questions brought forward can then be answered in the light of God’s Word. By bringing forwards different interpretations everybody can see and hear how others think and understand certain phrases in the Bible. Everybody can also share the experience of the ways of God in each person. Teaching and admonishing one another, all can look at and share prophecy, tongues and other gifts.
All those different gifts of the many different characters in the community should be carried by faith that is rooted in the obedience to the teachings of Christ without parenthesizing whole tracts of Christ’s commands and abdicating their obedience to the professionals! All members of the Christian Community are members of the church and are the Church. So all present should have, in their right the same say. Except that there has to be made a certain order to have the service, or other activities, created in good order and to avoid chaos.
Giving way or opening up an ecclesia is a way of faith that recovers the priesthood of all believers and the church-hood of the believing family.
We should not be afraid that every worshipping service is different. What happens arises from the experience of God that each member has. Growth happens as the encouraging and enabling one to another takes us further on the journey as individuals and as a group. In the ecclesia we should enable and encourage the gifts of one another for the building of the Body. And this is easier to do in a smaller community, so it may not bother us that we are such a few.
To come to the growth of an ecclesia it not to bad to have a policy plan. Together conferring which way one want to go is there the big concern. We must hold in to account the general un-churching and the disinterest for God, but it may not discourage us. Greying and secularization are individual characters of our environment which we must hold in mind. To have eyes for the current situation of this world is essential for the surroundings. But we may never wish to sacrifice the individual character of our belief to come towards the time bound position of men in the neighbourhood.
In first authority a neutral meeting place is indicated best, but furthermore house meetings are ideal. The house church is the mostly close-fitting with the Christian tradition. Meetings of formation and equipment must become foreseen. Provided that the members who come to our beliefs community mostly did grow up in this believe, we must see the difficulty to bring them round from their community in which they grew up, so far to get it that they also want to visit our ecclesia once in a while. For this purpose it becomes important that they feel themselves welcome and that they also become aware that we are a community of men of this time.
Unworldly things must in every respect be avoided. And those things that at first sight look strange, especially with the eye on the accepted affairs, must be clarified on the first view with the Word of God. The Biblical explanation must lie on the foreground. Visitors have to be aware that for us the Word of God stand on the first place and is our most important guide. For some men can that well appear peculiar that always is referred to Bible verses, but that those Bible quotations are considerably important to bring the understanding of God’s Word.
The church has to show others that it is part of this world and that they themselves already are anchored in a particular culture. The church or ecclesia can show that they stand open for contemporary influences and trends. In some affairs, the community can go along but it may not disavow with it its own individual character. In the Church it must be possible as in the society having cultures live together and lead churches together. That variety can only feed the church community, when everybody holds them self to Gods Laws and follows the teachings of Christ Jesus.
If the church will wring itself into different positions to grow then the church becomes in danger. We can see this in the institutional churches who twisted them self in all sorts of curves to bring about that growth. And that can have unwanted effects. The attention for ‘outsiders’ can swallow so much attention that the care for the members of the municipality with it shatters. One can go so far in adapting the ecclesia to what one thinks that outsiders expect or wish that members of the municipality become hit and get a feeling of alienation. Many institutional churches became crooked and many churches become empty. One has given too much attention to serve the others to their wish so that the individual character of that church went up and down as a yoyo on and changed as hygienic men change of underpants. This was however not the manner to hold the Church clean. Purity in the belief community can be there only as it holds clear belief points and keeps to them.
Each Church community her future stands or falls with the extent in which the church there will succeed in the future in come closer to the spiritual needs of the younger generation without that the older generation gets estranged. Therefore it can be important to bring the discussions or subjects considerably in line to points of interest for both parties.
We however may not forget that it always is considerably important that we let our neighbours see that we are inspired are through the story that God is committed with men and has for them a solution in store. The Plan of God lies affirmed with us on the furrow plan and in the bringing to existence of the ransom or peace offering of Jesus Christ in which we got the hope of the New Covenant. That Story goes for thousand years, and still each day million men are inspired by it. It tells us of a loving God that gives security to men in this seeking world. It tells us also of Jesus Christ, who brings reconciliation in a world fully wounded and hurt men. It tells us of the Holy Spirit, the Power of God, that our men – and this world – can renew. This Story is the origin of the church in her many figures, the ground under her feet, her largest joy and fixed hope for the future. We must at the outside world let see that we believe in this and also find the power to share together and to go forward together to go in this world full discomforts making it so more bearable for everybody.
The Holy Scriptures, the texts from the Old and New Testament give us courage and summon us to seek what connects us actually in the meeting with God and with each other. From the hope that we can get from the Bible we must get the power to bring others to God, from love for them. This love for them must we let them feel them also. If they are conscious of our, without wrong intentions, openness and love, and our honest inspiration we can perhaps convince them. Through our words and acts, we must be an example and worthy to be called Brother of Christ. Not only vocal must we let it come to expression, but the onlookers must be able to find it also in our meetings and celebrations, in which we want Gods errand to be known. From the inspiration of the Story, we experience a pressing need in this time visibly to out ourselves and to be of meaning. As a community, we must direct therefore to the outside and have to be hospitable.
Our activities must be easily accessible but have really to try to involve everybody by the service, there that is one of our individual characters that we together make service and that everybody is equal. Therefore we should try to involve everybody to read together the Word of God and to discuss it. We must let feel everybody that how small their contribution would be that this would be a valuable one and be welcome by the whole community.
In each meeting or celebration must be preserved a time to have an active participation for all members, and time for reflection and silence. At the participation of municipality members all those members should be open to any other member, accidental visitors or invited ones. Everybody must be made sensitively to seek renewed and to have an eye for the interpretation form men outside the church. All must want to learn to come forward for our belief to become so an animated and recruiting community. In which we want to be careful as a community, self concerned round destitute people, nearby or far away, and prepared to stand up to them and to help them.
As believers who want to go together on the way it is important that we want to share the Good News with each other and want to show others that we make all part of it. That means that we want to know each other, not only recognize. Hereby is it necessarily that we work at our self, to form a right character and to get the right attitude. So we do also have to work on our respect for the whole belief community, show respect for other opinions and show that we want to listen to each other. Through showing to others that our brotherly love is not feigned but from sincere concern or sympathy, can we them brotherly take up in our community that we want to put open as a spot of reflection were men can discover who they truly are and what God of them asks.
It comes there on to build at a feeling of unity. Let us hope that everybody that holds a warm heart to the belief shall be able to work together. Each can and should contribute a stone, and that can be on all sorts of manners. They that can find no time to invest actively can perhaps feel happier by contributing financially. And how one turns it, we cannot do it in this society without pennies. Money is now a time a necessary wrong.
One of the problems which the municipality encounters is her invisibility. For many is the church no interesting and contemporary conversation partner. If the community want to do her missionary task, it must seek to start this conversation herself. Not only through getting her own activities better be known by these groups, but also through associating with other activities of the municipality or village. To operate well in the field, equipment is necessary: the municipality must well keep for eyes that the conversation with men, of little Christian belief, begins with a reflection on what belief itself has to offer in their life.
Men see today the church more as a provider of services than as a community of which one shares and take part of. Though it is important that we convince that giving love to one another and realizing that we all want to belong to Jesus is our main focus to the way to god and His coming Kingdom. We should try to get everybody involved to become devoted to one another in brotherly love, to edify each other and to build one another. (Romans 14:19; 15:2) Now the time has come to make every effort to be at one and at peace with one another (Ephesians 4:3; Colossians 3:14, 15). Jesus has given us the task to teach one another (Colossians 3:16) and to admonish one another with wisdom (Colossians 3:16). In such a meeting when we take time to study the Word of God we can do that. It is also an excellent occasion to do the same things as the first Christians did at their study and gathering together moments. Singing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God one with another brings life in the house and let each other feel that they can be united. (Colossians 3:16)
The municipality shall have to receive the outsiders with hospitability without to disavow the own character of belief community. We must therefore examine in which extent we can accommodate. Being aware that identity gives security we should try to cloth our community with a clear identity. Every ecclesia has the freedom to choose its own form or identity, but it has to keep to the Biblical teachings in all ways. We cannot avoid that men in this post-modern time is more directed on relations. Churches have to form a community. The dividing of the meal is just as important as the listening to a sermon. But for us Christadelphians the Word of God is the most important and the Word part or reading of chapters from the Bible should take the most time of the service and be the central focus. All the texts in the meeting can be centred on the Bible chapters that are read for that day.
Men of this time have difficulties to be quite or to listen for a long time. Therefore it is most advised that each member of the community also is actively involved with the service, a.o. by reading each some verses from the daily reading. They are no longer been directed on the listening to a long sermon through one person, but the reader of the exhortation could try to have it enlivened with examples and changes in his voice. It can also help that when an exhortation from somebody is taken that all the members read successively. Men can sometimes learn more in a service through to participating more active and more creative.
To Plan for and to realize an ecclesia in a village or town a good communication is necessary between all the concerned, and for the belief community it is best as the entire community would become involved by all the projects. Together we must make it happen. There may not be ‘solo-tripping’, collaboration in teamwork and close cooperation can give possibilities to reach the goal.
Concerning the expense plate it should come to it that everybody can have a ready view on the worldly worries of an organization. Everybody should have a good eye for the worldly obligations to organize a church community. All have to look at the accompanying obligations in the right perspective. Tasks can be divided and those that are skilfully in a certain task can take that up. Every member can offer his professional guidance.
There is so much to do in an ecclesia. One can contribute to furnish it; taking care of the flowers, hall decoration, keeping clean the common meeting rooms, foreseen of the delicacies for after the service, etc . It are all, even sometimes likely small tasks which would become too much for one person to do, that must be done in the community, and where one mainly must count on voluntary co-workers.
Any occupation practice, that can be subservient for the church community can be shared with that ecclesia. Expenses can be saved in that way, through putting yourself to disposition for the community. So it will be ideal when someone that has a large space where he or she can receive men would put this to disposition for the expansion of the belief by giving it to be used by the believers on particular days to have their Bible study or to hold a house church service.
In particular churches there one counts on it that the members of the church community from their own conviction voluntarily give up a tenth (tithe) of their wage or earnings at the church community, as contribution to the expenses of the church community so that the costs of the congregation can be covered. By some churches, this (tithing) is seen even as something obviously and then we no longer can speak of a voluntary contribution but of a tax collection on the income. This collection or ‘Tenth’ becomes then used to pay the priests, pastors, ministers or preachers and to support the religious establishment. But we should persons, coming to our services and asking for our services, let them know that we receive freely from our God and that we also should give freely. Nobody in our Christadelphian community is paid like in the institutional churches. Because we are doing the work for our Lord we may not obligate people to give a financial contribution. But because we cannot do without the money to cover the costs we can leave the free choice to people to give some financial support as they wish.
For us the mostly suitable form for financial contribution is a collecting-box or basket behind or on an inconspicuous spot were anybody that wishes, can discreetly give a voluntary financial present. Or to make it possible to the members to present a gift by money transfer or by direct debit.
Only also through gifts within the church community, the ecclesia or parish can on her turn then again contribute to the commune, the town or environment. Churches have shown a long tradition in showing them in the middle-class commune. In the Anglo-Saxon countries we can find the custom that churches offer (offered) all sorts of people’s activities through the year. In our regions we do not have such a tradition, except when you take into account the renting out by the Catholic church of the parish house where then all sorts of eat festivities and other affairs are offered and local people meet.
But there have always been churches who try to be to the disposition for the needy and try to offer help where it can. For that lasting presence, also called ecclesiastic presence, according to some men professionals are ‘indispensable’. For them it is too much asked of the volunteers to have to do all that work in the districts alone. And actually is that well so, only one person cannot do this all, but in mutual cooperation of the church members that will well possible to have a roll of duties. Together all members can, under a particular leadership, spend attention at the problems in districts. Any respecting ecclesia should try to do the full task Jesus has given us. Helping others outside the believers group is also one and the role that the belief municipalities can play to improvement of those problems of its surroundings is an important contribution it has to play.
Were former parishioners quite narrow concerned on the ecclesiastic life, now it has become difficult to be find volunteers. Many people can find no time to invest with activities in the church community. For them, the financial contribution appears the easiest manner to support the church community.
When you are interested however in belief, you cannot escape to fix your relation unto the developments in the church community. Everybody on this earth must come till self research. Asking yourself: in what do I (want to) belief, what do I want to do with my belief, for what do I need the church community and which contribution can I furnish that church community? Because belief and church are not obviously anymore, it is also difficult to receive answers to these questions. We as Christadelphians should try to reach out our hand and be prepared to try to give sufficient answers and to give people a place where they can come together and feel at peace.
God needs men. He needed Jesus of Nazareth. But also does He need us to give ourselves to the world, giving the love hands and feet. In our actions should it be able that God’s Light can break through has been expected. This besides is what is expected of Jesus his supporters, that they spread and carry out the gospel further but also that indispensable love. Each other giving life… that can we! That we do by walking away from our own world and by giving each other attention, to take each other serious and listening to them, to their stories, their requirements. By letting each other feel our commitment: I am sympathetic towards you.
By coming together on several places every believer can carry out his or her belief and be support and crutch for others. The social contact that can be given in that community of that belief group then becomes of very large interest, a contribution not to be neglected.
For small belief communities, especially those who are not under institutional churches, it is more difficult to stay upright, to remain and to be able to cover the expenses. Because they already have lesser means to live on they are limited by what they can do. The mutual solidarity between men in the small belief community can certainly remain – how small in number the community also is, if this is been built on true belief. It there then becomes important for those small groups that they can remain enthusiast and that they remain searching to forms which suits their making church together.
As local believers we only can hope that by more men more understanding will come that the different part activities to service stand for the structure of one community and her mission. That more people would become more concerned and actively involved by the structure and the maintenance of the church community and may realize that a ‘large’ number of small branches are necessarily to bring everything to fulfilment. Everybody in the beliefs community must be self conscious that the church community must fulfil a positive striking and at the same time recognizable role in the towns community and that activities and projects of the church community can give a larger acquaintance at the belief community through which on her turn the community also again will be able to grow and so on her turn will get a good return.