On the Blog Necessary Roughness a mission congregation was brought up that apparently only meets for Bible Study. A few of us engaged in a short conversation about the topic and while none of us have posted in awhile, I am still thinking about the conversation.
Now in pursuing this conversation, I do not really want to comment on the congregation itself rather I want to stay within the "theoretical realm" because I do not know what is going on in that specific instance. Rebellious Pastor's Wife brought up an objection concerning a church with a pastor not gathering around the sacraments in divine service. Now, I can think of one legitimate reason for not gathering around the sacraments, Holy Communion, in particular, and that is they are going through catechesis and are not yet ready. However, this fact does not negate the benefit of gathering for a prayer and preaching service. Which makes me wonder why a mission would not start a regular service of some sort once there were two or three regulars.
Now for my question, what would drive the ultimate decision to not have a regular worship service and just a Bible Study? I have to wonder if it is because we are locked into this idea that we need a proper building in which to worship. Really a storefront or church building is not necessary for a worship service. All that is needed is a person willing to open their home or a convenient open space like a park. As it was brought up in our discussion the promise of Christ is to be where ever two or three are gathered in his name not in the designated sanctuary of such and such building.
My second thought is that we are of the mindset that a worship service is not meant for witnessing. This thought baffles me completely because a worship service centered around the Word of God is going to witness to people. As God's word is presented in the context of the service one can not help but be convicted by the Law and healed by the Gospel, because they will be given clearly. I realize a major portion of the service is the Sacrament of the Altar and that unprepared people are rightfully asked to refrain from partaking and this can be perceived as an impediment or turn off, but this still does not necessarily negate the witnessing ability of a worship service. I mean the ancient church would ask people to leave before receiving communion and as we can see now it didn't turn off everybody.
Now, I realize in a sense I have set up straw men, but I am curious as to why people when they have the means would not have a worship service. I don't know maybe other's have some experience with this thought process.