The Need for Orderly Participation in the Worship Service

Text: 1 Corinthians 14:26-33 Theme: Everything done in the church should edify others, not bring chaotic confusion. Key verses: “How is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, as a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification.” (v. 26) “Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others judge. But if anything is revealed to another who sits by, let the first keep silent.” (v. 29-30) “For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.” What God said to me: Dwayne, be very careful how you interpret this passage. Some would try to use this teaching to stifle participation among the church, saying only 2 or 3 persons should speak during a church gathering. Others would go to the other extreme and claim that Paul is endorsing and encouraging everyone to speak and participate. They believe as long as there is a veil or assumption of Spirit-led “order” then anything goes. But extremism is the very thing Paul was trying to prevent. Yes, several can and often should participate, but no, anything does not go. There must be order which is sanctioned and guarded by certain key prophets or pastors. And only those leaders should speak and be regarded with authority, as though they speak from me. And even they should be judged by the other godly and wise leaders. This prevents chaos and heresy from slipping among my church. Find the balance, Dwayne. Teach your people. Encourage your people to stand and share if and only as they feel led. But warn them of the consequences of speaking out of turn, unscripturally, or inappropriately. What I said to God: Thank You, Father, for making this more clear to me. We need not “throw the baby out with the bath water” as some have done. Participation among your members is wonderful and needed. They are not to be spectators, cowed down and hushed up. Yet, leadership and pastoral authority is a must and should be respected and heeded. As one of those leaders in Your Church, help me lead with humility, care, watchfulness, and sensitivity.