People tell me I lead a good meeting. But what makes a good meeting? By ‘meeting’ I mean a larger corporate gathering of a corps as opposed to a bible study/cell/ward/brigade meeting. Of course, every meeting will have similar things in common: bible reading, prayer, worship etc But I’m thinking more about the ‘approach’ as opposed to content. For me, I think it is a good combination of the following:
1. Vibrant worship. By vibrant I don’t necessarily mean loud. I mean worship where the Spirit is free to move and where people engage with him and more importantly, there is an expectation that he will move. Neither do I mean here contemporary vs traditional. The principle applies to both. Any worship that is dead is not helpful at all. But how do you make it alive?
2. Multi-voiced. Honestly, if I’m the only person whose voice is heard as the leader, I’m not convinced at all that it can be a good meeting. That is more about me performing a show for people. I prefer to encourage a conversational culture where people might feel free to pray, testify, ask a question. If you’re not in a situation where people would be comfortable with that, you need to train them and give opportunities to speak. Create a culture of expectancy, invited people to come to corporate gatherings with the expectation that God will have something for them to contribute.
3. Space. I think good meetings don’t programme themselves to the minute. There is a plan, perhaps, but there is always space for response and waiting on God or for a change of plan. In the Army, we believe that the word of God demands our response and we must always give people time to do it….whether its a holiness meeting or a salvation meeting or whatever you want to call it…..space and opportunity for response. Cut out the clutter or nonsense.
4. Applicable preaching. If preaching is to take place, people need to see how it helps them follow Jesus. We don’t preach just to feed spiritual infants spiritual milk, we want to encourage, inspire, challenge and we preach for a verdict and invite people to follow where he is leading today.
5. Authenticity. You can’t control or make people authentic but you can choose to be authentic yourself and hope it catches on! Really, if I’m stood there like a statue, it won’t give people the impression that God is even there. I think this also talks about being yourself and not trying to be something or someone you’re not. Let the Spirit inspire you as to how best to use who you are to lead others on.
6. Mission-focussed. God is a missional God…..he is all about mission. What is your missiology of worship? Listen, when you start conducting services and performing ministrations, you become a static temple-based system. If you are a community in mission, your worship will reflect that. Basically, when we worshipping it in the context of our calling to preach the gospel to all nations as opposed to having a parochial vision, the dynamism of the meeting will change and it will connect with all the days that happen between the main times you meet.
This isn’t exhaustive, there will probably be many things to consider, but I think these are good things to make a start on in begining to transform ‘the meeting’ and leave you with the sense of ‘it was good to be together’.