[Also e-published through The Paperless Hymnal]
The Christian Assembly
Concepts, Trends, and Leadership with Purpose
© 2005-2010 Brian Casey, Encounter Music and Creative Services
These writings may be redistributed/reprinted by any sincere believer who believes they will help the Kingdom of God. I ask three things only: that care be taken to leave contiguous sections intact, that attribution of authorship be included, and that no one attempt to profit financially from this material.
If printed copies are desired, please contact me.
The following links are to separate .pdf files for each section.
It has been called many things. The assembly of the saints. The gathering of Christians. Devotionals. Worship. Goin’ to meetin’ (a phrase from yesteryear). Church.
Regardless of the label, the significance of the Christian assembly is unquestioned by most believers. Or is it?
Have we reached a time when we are so tired of hearing Hebrews 10:25-26 (quoted in order to inflict guilt on those who had skipped, or who were thinking about skipping . . . a kind of enforced attendance) that we rebel—in practice, if not in our hearts? Do we find ourselves just attending without comprehending the purposes? Submitting to the activity without experiencing much of what God had in mind?
Even those of us who have the habit of church attendance may find ourselves minimizing the importance of the assembly; this phenomenon is related, I think, to good habits with bad reasons and/or bad execution. In other words, we would not find ourselves having to advertise the assembly to the fringe element if the activities had been carried out with more depth, intentionality, and, well . . . quality. Not only would we continue to be there when Christians are gathered, but the contagion of our feelings about the value of the assembly would affect all those around us. More people would be present, and all those present would be engaged. In my wildest dreams, there would be no fringe element.
In the passages/paragraphs/pages that follow, I affirm the importance of the Christian assembly by offering comments, opinions, reflections, and suggestions. What you will find here are thoughts on various topics that relate to the Christian assembly.
These thoughts and words spring largely from my own experiences in dozens of churches whose signs read Church of Christ, and some of this material may apply only to those churches. A good proportion of the section on music deals with “traditional” a cappella churches that use hymnals and/or hymn-style music more than contemporary songs, yet the latter category carries with it some unique issues that I have also dealt with in some detail.
I do believe that those from multiple church traditions will be able to gain from reading. Since the first edition of this material, written in 2005-2007, I have added and revised based on continued experience, thought, and study. Much of the additional material was first made available on my blog (blcasey.wordpress.com).
May God be honored.