Participation in Worship

Paul gives some instructions about order in worship in 1 Corinthians 14:26-40. There are some interesting broader implications for worship that do not seem to fit many of our normal worship service practices.

  1. When believers worship together, it is to be edifying, peaceful, and orderly (vv. 26, 33, 40).
  2. When believers worship together, there are a variety of activities (v. 26)?
  3. When believers worship together, a variety of believers participate (not just leaders).
  4. When believers worship together, there are some unplanned contributions (vv. 29-30).

There is a level of openness in the participation of the body that may seem foreign to some of our worship traditions. I can understand why we would exclude open contributions to our meetings . When you allow open participation, things can certainly go wrong. That is exactly why Paul is teaching the Corinthians how to have edifying, peaceful, orderly worship. But to remove the openness for the sake of order is not the biblical answer to difficulties resulting from open participation. Open participation can provide a rich time of encouragement as the variety of giftedness in the body is exercised. There is a balance between openness and peaceful order that is edifying. Teaching the church about how to participate in an edifying manner and providing leadership in the service help to strike this balance.