Thursday, May 04, 2017

The Irrelevancy of Many Church Meetings (The Presence-Driven Church)

Our garage, on a cold night

Have you ever been in a church meeting where the only outcome was deciding when to meet again? I have. I have actually led some of them.

Sometimes it is good to just be together. But church meetings are usually scheduled for more than, "Hey, let's hang out at the church building next week!"

Some people need to have meetings to validate their leadership. This is like a pastor who reasons, "I need to be in my office in the church building, doing something, doing anything, even if no one else is there." (One time someone in my church saw me in the grocery store, on a Wednesday morning. They called some of our church leaders and reported me.)

Thomas Merton, in
New Seeds of Contemplation, writes:

"There are men dedicated to God whose lives are full of restlessness and who have no real desire to be alone. Interior solitude is impossible for them. They fear it. They do everything they can to escape it. What is worse, they try to draw everyone else into activities as senseless and as devouring as their own. They are great promoters of useless work. They love to organize meetings and banquets and conferences and lectures. They print circulars, write letters, talk for hours on the telephone in order that they might gather a hundred people in a large room where they will all fill the air with smoke and make a great deal of noise and roar at one another and clap their hands and stagger home at last, patting one another on the back with the assurance that they have all done great things to spread the Kingdom of God."

In a Presence-Driven Church, are there meetings. Of course! The bottom line is: does God want us to have a meeting? If so, then meet. If not, then don't. Another meeting just for the sake of having a meeting has an illogical circularity about it that creates corporate nothingness.