When we go to church, depending on your particular denomination or tradition, there are certain things which are expected. These include, music, singing, taking an offering, prayer(s), reading of Scripture, and preaching or teaching. Churches perform these functions and others regularly. We often have choirs, worship leaders, praise bands, and designated people who pray and preach. But what is actually required in the Bible for a meeting of a church?
Many of the current programs and ministries which many churches engage in, while often fulfilling a biblical function, are not absolutely necessary to fulfill that function. Should we praise and worship God? Yes. Does that require a praise band and a worship leader? No. We can accomplish praise and worship without those things. Should we study the Bible and have pastors/teachers to help us understand and apply it? Yes. Does that require attending a church service or Sunday School in a church building at a prescribed time and date? No. It requires a meeting of believers, anywhere, with a capable pastor/teacher. Should we fellowship with other believers? Yes. Does that require that we meet primarily with those Christians who are members of our “local church” at scheduled times? No. We can meet with Christians wherever we live and work at any time/place. And are all these functions required at every meeting of believers? No.
Nowhere in the Bible is there an “order of service” or “service schedule” for a church service. There are no specifics given for a church meeting. By this, I mean that the biblical writers did not receive a revelation from God instructing us in how to conduct a church service. In 1 Corinthians, Paul addressed some problems with how those believers were conducting themselves when meeting, but there are no specifics on what must be included in church meetings. I can confirm that the prayer and edification (building each other up) was a mainstay when Christians met as there are a several references to that. However, how that was done had no consistent specifications.
Therefore, there is great freedom in how churches meet. It is not limited to a building, a local church, or a denomination. In my opinion, we place way too much emphasis on things which do not matter biblically. So if I’m in the workplace and 3 of us get together to pray, it doesn’t matter that one of us is a Methodist, another a Presbyterian, and another a Baptist. We can pray and exhort each other, and biblically, that is an “assembly” of believers. Consider the following:
So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. (Romans 12:5)
For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread. (1 Corinthians 10:17)
For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. (1 Corinthians 12:13)
Paul was not a member of the local church at either Rome or Corinth. Yet, he considered himself a part of the same body–the body of Christ. This is the focus we are missing in the contemporary Church.