As Baptist we believe that our ability to be congregational is one of the values/ practices which set us apart as different. Question Time is not a baptist church meeting because those gathered there aren't a local community, nor are they their to seek the common good for their community, nor, and most importantly, are they their to try to hear what God is saying to them through the whisper of the Holy to their souls and through the others gathered there, but still there was stuff David could teach us about a church meeting and the way we relate to each other at different times as we gather.
Some of these things you can only see if your there as he's not aways on camera.
- At the start he encouraged people to take part! This was to make the debate fun, but for us Baptist we need to be open to hearing many voices bring ideas, questions, challenges, ( all in christ like way!). Are most baptist church happy with a short 'quiet' church meeting or one which is lively, christ like and participated in?
- He made people aware that he didn't think the panel were more important/ special than the audience. All church members are equal, we trust our leaders, but trusting doesn't mean we don;t have dialog with them. All church members deserve respect, but only together can we discern what God is saying, church leaders need the members and vis verse, which is why it was great to see a discussion take place. Are Baptist church leaders to be left with the role of 'leading' or do we seek to hear what God is saying though the church rather than a few?
- It was encouraged to challenge! As uncomfortable as it was, it was the challenge of a statement/ idea which created discussion. Something we're not sure if it's christ like to challenge ( read the Gospels if your not sure!) Certainly I've seen people challenge other at church meetings in almost ungodly way, this too should be challenged, but in the discussion what challenged me was I was drawn to the members of the panel, who were most open to listen and changing their mind as a result of a challenge. Their leadership style was open to the process! Are Baptist church leaders open to this process?
- We heard the nutters(not a nice way of describing people but it paints the right picture)!! David D was not afraid to hear the nutter's ask questions! God speaks through nutters and often we try to silence them, those with extremist views or mental health issues or a real eye for detail and so ask question after question. Do we value theses voices, if we don't i suspect we don't value most of the writers of the second half of the OT!
There is more i could write, but if non believers can have debate and in many ways behave/ follow practices which are better than many Baptist church meetings- shouldn't we be challenged to go further than the rest of the world and be more like Jesus than they are. I hope that as we develop a Congregational community here the way in which i serve our friends learns from, but goes further than David D.
Love and Prayers.