by Given O. Blakely


This study has been prompted by my exposure to our Lord's day assemblies. As of 1994, I have reached the Word of God since 1952. Forty of those years have involved ministering regularly in several assemblies. I have been exposed to scores of assemblies in nearly twenty states, so speak from an experiential point of view. While I have witnessed some excellent gatherings, I have found a general deficiency in the public gatherings of the people; particularly those of the Restoration Movement. The average "church service" stands in stark contrast to the plea for the unity of God's people upon the basis f the Word of God and a common identity with Jesus Christ.

The penchant for entertainment that has gripped much of our society appears to have affected the contemporary church. A growing number of our churches are offering a morning of entertainment to the people. A highly professional presentation is submitted in the name of the Lord. But the effects are not lasting--at least that is how it appears. With a professed growing interest in "worship," a marked decline has simultaneously occurred in evening services, both Sunday and Wednesday. The absence of a sustained interest in the things of God reveals that much of what is called "worship" is nothing more than psychological hype. It is time that we do something about this condition.

Some of the areas we will cover are sensitive, but improvement requires that we boldly address them. We have nothing to fear in such a procedure. We have a solemn obligation to "try the spirits, whether they are of God" (1 John 4:1). Further, our examination is a mark of nobility, as seen in the Bereans of old: "These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the Word with all readiness of mind, and searched the Scriptures daily, whether those things were so" (Acts 17:11).