'Each One' or 'Only One'

I recently had a discussion with someone about church culture and found myself asking this question:
Is the focus of our church experience on the pastor's pulpit ministry healthy or unhealthy?
I said that I thought it is unhealthy. Think about 1 Corinthians 14:26:
What is the outcome then, brethren? When you assemble, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification.
An interesting scripture isn't it. I wonder, why does it say 'each one' if (generally speaking) teaching is limited to 'only one' in most churches? Do you find it interesting how so much of the evangelical church experience is built around the pulpit ministry of one person? Could it be that the growth of home church ministry is directly related to a fulfillment of the 1 Corinthians 14:26 scripture?

I think that in 1 Corinthians Paul addresses a lot of dysfunction in the church. Chapter 12 addresses the importance of spiritual gifts when they are used in the context of the entire body. It speaks to the idea of no gift being more important than an other ... and consequently no gift preeminent over another. Is it possible that the modern day pulpit ministry has become the antithesis of body ministry and is encouraging church to become a spectator activity?

Hope this doesn't offend anyone. I would be interested in having a discussion around some alternate views. You can read more of my views on this here and here.


  1. I think you're right, KB....a lot of churches are built around the one, the pastor. The last church I went to certainly was. Very dysfunctional. The church I did the mural for was nice, but they needed $150,000 a week to stay solvent...think of where those funds could go. This all is definitely why home churches are springing up, but again, those have their limits, too. I think you and I have seen where they can slip and become an elite group unto themselves, feigning openness, but falling into the same judgmental human foibles as big churches. Wish I knew the answer. Your church has tons of ministers and opportunity for outreach and use of giftings, though.

  2. Could it be that the passage intent is not on the pulpit or "pastor" but on the people? Could it be that the people in Corinth were not in unity and Paul wanted to exhort them to share their lives and worship together as they gather in their house church, and not to have any divisions.

    I would take that to be the background to that passage. Not saying that I do not agree with your point, but only on the intent of the verse.

  3. I think putting so much on one man is very unhealthy for he and his family as well as the church. At the beginning of my life in Christ, I was part of a church that was very active. We used to have over 100 people show up for visitation. During that time, I saw hundreds come to Christ. I was young in the Lord then and took it for granted as I thought that to be the norm. Now I know how special that experience was. It seems that as time has past there are fewer and fewer of us actually involved and church services become more and more like going to the theatre rather than worship service. I truly would love to hear more from the lay persons.



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