In the early 1800s, John Nelson Darby and the Plymouth Brethren did something radical… They sat in a square. Rather than having all seats arranged toward a pulpit, they sat facing one another. If their meetings could be characterized by one word it would be this: mutuality.

While places of worship today vary largely in size, most church meetings consist of congregations directed toward a stage of some kind. The underlying assumption of this layout is that a more qualified few will ascend that stage and then carry out a service on behalf of the less capable whole. Of course not all would agree with this statement. Some might argue that those on stage are simply “leading” the assembly, not replacing them. Nevertheless, have you ever been in such a meeting and felt the freedom to stand up and speak something you appreciated from the word? Have you ever been comfortable enough to request a song to be sung?

Probably you haven’t. That’s because we all understand that things of this nature (i.e. the worship, the sermon, etc.), are decided on well in advance and delivered by “those who know what they’re doing.” The seating arrangement itself tells you that this is not a meeting in mutuality, a gathering in which “each one has.”

“What then, brothers? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up.” (1 Cor. 14:26, ESV)

The Brethren saw in the Bible that Christ alone is the Head of the church, and all His believers are merely brothers (Matt. 23:8-10). This truth so impacted them that it was practically realized in their meetings. Darby, as well as many others, gave up their status as clergymen. Everyone in attendance was given opportunity to speak, call a song, pray, or praise the Lord. They even arranged the seating to encourage such divine activity.

My point is not chair direction. My point is “each one” having. Every believer is a member of the Body of Christ. Thus, every member should practically be given opportunity to function in the meetings of the church. Each one does have… My desire is that this be manifested on Sunday morning.

For more information on John Nelson Darby and the Brethren, see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Darby_(evangelist)

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