The Holy Spirit in the CongregationOne

One distinctive and important result produced by the presence of the Holy Spirit in the church may be recognized by the active participation of all the members in the life, worship and service of the church. In the regular services of the great majority of Christian churches today, almost all the real initiative and activity are confined to just a few individuals. The congregation as a whole may take part in certain prearranged activities: singing hymns or repeating fi xed prayers or responses. There may also be one or two smaller, specially trained groups, such as a choir or an orchestra. But apart from this, in the vast majority of congregations, all the real initiative and activity are left in the hands of one or two individuals while the rest of the congregation is expected to contribute little more than an occasional Amen.

However, if we examine with an open mind the life and worship of the early church as portrayed in the New Testament, we find that there was active participation by all the believers present in any service. This was brought about by the supernatural presence and power of the Holy Spirit, operating in and through the individual believers.Gifts Are Given to the Church The first point we need to establish is that, according to the New Testament pattern, the supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit are not given primarily to the individual believer. Rather, they are given—through the vessel of the individual believer—to the church or congregation as a whole. Therefore they cannot achieve their proper purpose unless they are freely manifested and exercised in the life of the congregation.

Download PDF HERE