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    • By Jim_Alaska in Jim_Alaska's Sermons & Devotionals
         14
      Closed Communion
      James Foley
       
      I Corinthians 11:17-34: "Now in this that I declare unto you I praise you not, that ye come together not for the better, but for the worse. For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it. For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you. When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord's Supper. For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken. What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the church of God, and shame them that have not? What shall I say to you? shall I praise you in this? I praise you not. For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death till he come. Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world. Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another. And if any man hunger, let him eat at home; that ye come not together unto condemnation. And the rest will I set in order when I come."

      INTRODUCTION

      Historic Baptists, true Baptists, have believed in and still believe in closed communion. Baptists impose upon themselves the same restrictions that they impose on others concerning the Lord’s Supper. Baptists have always insisted that it is the Lord’s Table, not theirs; and He alone has the right to say who shall sit at His table. No amount of so called brotherly love, or ecumenical spirit, should cause us to invite to His table those who have not complied with the requirements laid down plainly in His inspired Word. With respect to Bible doctrines we must always use the scripture as our guide and practice. For Baptists, two of the most important doctrines are Baptism and The Lord’s Supper. These are the only two doctrines we recognize as Church Ordinances. The Bible is very clear in teaching how these doctrines are to be practiced and by whom.

      We only have two ordinances that we must never compromise or we risk our very existence, they are Baptism and The Lord’s Supper.

      The moment we deviate from the precise method God has prescribed we have started down the slippery slope of error. True Baptists have held fast to the original doctrine of The Lord’s Supper from the time of Christ and the Apostles.

      Unfortunately, in this day of what the Bible describes as the age of luke warmness, Baptists are becoming careless in regard to strictly following the pattern laid out for us in Scripture. Many of our Bible colleges are graduating otherwise sincere, Godly and dedicated pastors and teachers who have not been taught the very strict, biblical requirements that surround the Lord’s Supper. Any Bible college that neglects to teach its students the differences surrounding Closed Communion, Close Communion and Open Communion is not simply short changing its students; it is also not equipping their students to carry on sound Bible traditions. The result is men of God and churches that fall into error. And as we will see, this is serious error.

      Should we as Baptists ignore the restrictions made by our Lord and Master? NO! When we hold to the restrictions placed upon the Lord’s Supper by our Master, we are defending the "faith which was once delivered to the saints" Jude 3.

      The Lord’s Supper is rigidly restricted and I will show this in the following facts:

      IT IS RESTRICTED AS TO PLACE

      A. I Corinthians 11:18 says, "When ye come together in the church." This does not mean the church building; they had none. In other words, when the church assembles. The supper is to be observed by the church, in church capacity. Again this does not mean the church house. Ekklesia, the Greek word for church, means assembly. "When ye come together in the church," is when the church assembles.

      B. When we say church we mean an assembly of properly baptized believers. Acts 2:41-42: "Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers."

      The church is made up of saved people who are baptized by immersion. In the Bible, belief precedes baptism. That’s the Bible way.

      Acts 8:12-13, "But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done."

      When we say properly baptized, we mean immersed. No unbeliever should take the Lord’s supper, and no non-immersed believer should take the supper. Those who are sprinkled are not baptized and cannot receive the supper. The Greek word for baptize is baptizo, and it always means to immerse.

      "In every case where communion is referred to, or where it may possibly have been administered, the believers had been baptized Acts 2:42; 8:12; 8:38; 10:47; 6:14-15; 18:8; 20:7. Baptism comes before communion, just as repentance and faith precede baptism".

      C. The Lord’s Supper is for baptized believers in church capacity: "When ye come together in the church," again not a building, but the assembly of the properly baptized believers.

      D. The fact that the Lord’s Supper is a church ordinance, to be observed in church capacity, is pointed out by the fact that it is for those who have been immersed and added to the fellowship of the church.

      E. The Lord’s Supper is never spoken of in connection with individuals. When it is referred to, it is only referred to in reference to baptized believers in local church capacity I Cor. 11:20-26).

      I want to quote Dr. W.W. Hamilton,

      "The individual administration of the ordinance has no Bible warrant and is a relic of Romanism. The Lord’s Supper is a church ordinance, and anything which goes beyond or comes short of this fails for want of scriptural example or command".

      “The practice of taking a little communion kit to hospitals, nursing homes, etc. is unscriptural and does not follow the scriptural example.”

      IT IS RESTRICTED TO A UNITED CHURCH

      A. The Bible in I Cor. 11:18 is very strong in condemning divisions around the Lord’s table. For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it.
      19 For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.
      20 When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord's supper.

      There were no less than four divisions in the Corinthian church.
      I Cor. 1:12: "Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ."

      Because of these divisions, it was impossible for them to scripturally eat the Lord’s Supper. Division in the local church is reason to hold off observing the Lord’s Supper. But there are also other reasons to forego taking the Lord’s Supper. If there is gross sin in the membership we do not take it. Here is scriptural evidence for this: 1Co 5:7 Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us:
      8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. 9 I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators:
      10 Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world. 11 But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.

      B. At this point, I want to ask these questions: Are there not doctrinal divisions among the many denominations? Is it not our doctrinal differences that cause us to be separate religious bodies?

      IT IS RESTRICTED BY DOCTRINE

      A. Those in the early church at Jerusalem who partook "continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine" Acts 2:42. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.

      B. Those that do not hold to apostolic truth are not to partake. This means there is to be discipline in the local body. How can you discipline those who do not belong to the local body? You can’t. The clear command of scripture is to withdraw fellowship from those who are not doctrinally sound.

      II Thes 3:6: "Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us."
      Rom. 16:17: "Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them."
      To commune together means to have the same doctrine.
      II Thes. 2:15: "Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle."
      II John 10-11: "If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds."

      C. Some Baptists in our day have watered down this doctrine by practicing what they call “Close Communion.” By this they mean that they believe that members of another Baptist church may take communion with us because they are of the same beliefs. Once again, this is unscriptural.

      The welcome to the Lord's Table should not be extended beyond the discipline of the local church. When we take the Lord’s Supper there is supposed to be no gross sin among us and no divisions among us. We have no idea of the spiritual condition of another church’s members. If there is sin or division in the case of this other church’s members, we have no way of knowing it. We cannot discipline them because they are not members of our church. This is why we practice “Closed” communion, meaning it is restricted solely to our church membership. 
      So then, in closing I would like to reiterate the three different ideas concerning the Lord’s Supper and who is to take it. 
      Closed Communion = Only members of a single local church. 
      Close Communion = Members of like faith and order may partake. 
      Open Communion = If you claim to be a Christian, or simply attending the service, you may partake. 
      It is no small thing to attempt to change that which was implemented by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 
      Mt. 28:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. 
      Many of our Baptist churches have a real need to consider the gravity of the act of observing The Lord’s Supper. It is not a light thing that is to be taken casually or without regard to the spiritual condition of ourselves or our church.
      1Co. 11:27 Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.

       28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.

       29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.

       30 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.

Baptist Buffets…


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Baptist loves to eat and I am one of them, I love going to church and the fellowship with the brothers and sisters in Christ, but sometimes, I believe the church is going a little too far with these buffets and dinners after church. I know we get our spiritual food first and then our physical food second. But we must remember that the church is a place of fellowship, worship and praise, to hear the gospel being preached, and to bring our ties and offering. The church is a place that must be respected add taken care of. Anything else we bring into the church could, believe me or not can hurt the church. what do you think about these churches, they have buffets and lunches and dinners every Sunday?

D8BF33C8-7C00-47BB-A1F7-EAE7D06F9EF6.jpeg.7de61e026e8e22f90c0bce9dec32eb0c.jpeg

 

 

 

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3 hours ago, E Morales said:

Baptist loves to eat and I am one of them, I love going to church and the fellowship with the brothers and sisters in Christ, but sometimes, I believe the church is going a little too far with these buffets and dinners after church. I know we get our spiritual food first and then our physical food second. But we must remember that the church is a place of fellowship, worship and praise, to hear the gospel being preached, and to bring our ties and offering. The church is a place that must be respected add taken care of. Anything else we bring into the church could, believe me or not can hurt the church. what do you think about these churches, they have buffets and lunches and dinners every Sunday?

D8BF33C8-7C00-47BB-A1F7-EAE7D06F9EF6.jpeg.7de61e026e8e22f90c0bce9dec32eb0c.jpeg

 

 

 

 

I've never heard of a Baptist church that has buffets or fellowship every week after service....I'm not against buffets or fellowships after church, but don't believe they should used every week. In most of the IFB churches I was in growing up and in my early married years, we usually had one fellowship on a Sunday evening a month. To say what each church should or shouldn't do is becoming legalistic, as each church is free to choose how they run their own worship, their own fellowships, etc. It's really NONE of our business how another church conducts their fellowships, unless of course, they're bringing a reproach upon the name of Christ.

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We attended a church for a time that had lunch potluck each Sunday. But they did this because they were without a pastor, so their guest preacher would teach/preach Sunday School and the morning service, we'd eat lunch, and then have the afternoon service. That way the visiting preacher could get home in a timely manner (one of them came from several hours away, the others 1-2 hours). We liked it because we traveled almost 40 minutes one way, and had to cross the Hood Canal Bridge both times...the bridge opens at times which can cause a very long waiting time. One Sunday morning, we were unable to get to church because the bridge shut down and didn't reopen. 

Our current church was in the same circumstance when we began attending. No pastor, and a rotation of three different men preaching for the morning service. The members of the church had decided at the beginning of the circuit to bring lunch so that the speakers and their families could eat. There was no afternoon service; evening service was just the members. It was nice for a while, but then when my hubs became pastor, there were issues that arose...so he did away with the meal and went to just snacks. That had its own issues, and was done away with when Covid hit. He did institute our first Sunday potluck, which we still do. We have an afternoon service (at which my son teaches) and no evening service. It makes for a bit of different and we all enjoy it. 

I think if a church wants to have a meal together every week, that's their choice. I do know of a few churches that have a meal each Sunday. IMO, it's no biggie - in fact, meal time is a very good time to fellowship together. Something we all need.

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2 minutes ago, HappyChristian said:

We attended a church for a time that had lunch potluck each Sunday. But they did this because they were without a pastor, so their guest preacher would teach/preach Sunday School and the morning service, we'd eat lunch, and then have the afternoon service. That way the visiting preacher could get home in a timely manner (one of them came from several hours away, the others 1-2 hours). We liked it because we traveled almost 40 minutes one way, and had to cross the Hood Canal Bridge both times...the bridge opens at times which can cause a very long waiting time. One Sunday morning, we were unable to get to church because the bridge shut down and didn't reopen. 

Our current church was in the same circumstance when we began attending. No pastor, and a rotation of three different men preaching for the morning service. The members of the church had decided at the beginning of the circuit to bring lunch so that the speakers and their families could eat. There was no afternoon service; evening service was just the members. It was nice for a while, but then when my hubs became pastor, there were issues that arose...so he did away with the meal and went to just snacks. That had its own issues, and was done away with when Covid hit. He did institute our first Sunday potluck, which we still do. We have an afternoon service (at which my son teaches) and no evening service. It makes for a bit of different and we all enjoy it. 

I think if a church wants to have a meal together every week, that's their choice. I do know of a few churches that have a meal each Sunday. IMO, it's no biggie - in fact, meal time is a very good time to fellowship together. Something we all need.

@HappyChristianGoodies to eat are nice; but it's the Biblical, spiritual food that really counts for lasting nourishment! 🙂

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Just now, HappyChristian said:

I never said otherwise. But it is a truth that hungry people don't learn as well, so there's that, too.

I also find that if I've eaten too much during the intermission, during the next sermon I might start to feel.....a bit....zzzzzz.......:)

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5 hours ago, farouk said:

I also find that if I've eaten too much during the intermission, during the next sermon I might start to feel.....a bit....zzzzzz.......:)

Depends on what you choose to eat and just how much you eat! There are food combinations, even in foods that aren't ideal that will help keep one awake. Stay away from most of the carbs and sweets, and you shouldn't have a problem...unless of course, you're eating turkey! 🙂

 

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13 hours ago, farouk said:

I also find that if I've eaten too much during the intermission, during the next sermon I might start to feel.....a bit....zzzzzz.......:)

Which is why, on our potluck days, we don't have dessert until after the last service. People save room, and don't get the zzz feeling from the sugar.  As to that, folks need to be responsible and not eat so much they'll get sleepy. 😉

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On 9/19/2021 at 1:53 PM, E Morales said:

Baptist loves to eat and I am one of them, I love going to church and the fellowship with the brothers and sisters in Christ, but sometimes, I believe the church is going a little too far with these buffets and dinners after church. I know we get our spiritual food first and then our physical food second. But we must remember that the church is a place of fellowship, worship and praise, to hear the gospel being preached, and to bring our ties and offering. The church is a place that must be respected add taken care of. Anything else we bring into the church could, believe me or not can hurt the church. what do you think about these churches, they have buffets and lunches and dinners every Sunday?

D8BF33C8-7C00-47BB-A1F7-EAE7D06F9EF6.jpeg.7de61e026e8e22f90c0bce9dec32eb0c.jpeg

 

 

 

“And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.” - Acts 13:3 

The early church prayed and fasted before sending the missionaries out. I've never experienced this in a church. Usually it's stuffing the gullet and complaining why we have so many physical issues like sore feet because many of us are obese.

Edited by SureWord
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What happens is those nice ladies that are working in the kitchen, warming the food and getting everything ready. When they should be hearing and participating in the service. The only members that should be walking around is security, or someone to use the rest room. Members hanging around outside is another problem, just talking.

56 minutes ago, SureWord said:

“And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.” - Acts 13:3 

The early church prayed and fasted before sending the missionaries out. I've never experienced this in a church. Usually it's stuffing the gullet and complaining why we have so many physical issues like sore feet because many of us are obese.

Most Baptist don't fast, this is a weakness, I agree.

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On 9/19/2021 at 1:53 PM, E Morales said:

Baptist loves to eat and I am one of them, I love going to church and the fellowship with the brothers and sisters in Christ, but sometimes, I believe the church is going a little too far with these buffets and dinners after church. I know we get our spiritual food first and then our physical food second. But we must remember that the church is a place of fellowship, worship and praise, to hear the gospel being preached, and to bring our tithes and offering. The church is a place that must be respected and taken care of. Anything else we bring into the church could, believe me or not can hurt the church. what do you think about these churches, they have buffets and lunches and dinners every Sunday?

D8BF33C8-7C00-47BB-A1F7-EAE7D06F9EF6.jpeg.7de61e026e8e22f90c0bce9dec32eb0c.jpeg

 

Spelling change for tithes also and...   Thanks

 

 

Edited by E Morales
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5 hours ago, E Morales said:

What happens is those nice ladies that are working in the kitchen, warming the food and getting everything ready. When they should be hearing and participating in the service. The only members that should be walking around is security, or someone to use the rest room. Members hanging around outside is another problem, just talking.

 

Not at our church. Food is kept warm either in a crockpot or in the oven, turned on before any service begins. And no work to set it out until after the service is over. As for security, we have a very small church and our one "security" sits in the service along with everyone else. He has very quick reaction times... 😄 And members don't hang around outside just talking. Let's not broadbrush - maybe "what often happens" instead...

 

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7 hours ago, HappyChristian said:

Not at our church. Food is kept warm either in a crockpot or in the oven, turned on before any service begins. And no work to set it out until after the service is over. As for security, we have a very small church and our one "security" sits in the service along with everyone else. He has very quick reaction times... 😄 And members don't hang around outside just talking. Let's not broadbrush - maybe "what often happens" instead...

 

I agree. In our church we have several "security" people...all carry guns, and i believe at least one is an officer somewhere nearby. In our church, being small (between 80 and 140 people on any given Sunday), our fellowships usually have the ladies and some men leaving the service just before the invitation to get the food warmed and put onto the tables. It doesn't take long. Fellowships are a great way to make sure that visitors feel welcomed if they've come on that particular Sunday, and we've had several come to the Lord because of the time spent on them on those Sundays. That's one thing I do love about our church. It was also, for my wife and I, a GREAT WAY to get to know other people who were in our SS class, in the church as deacons, and just to meet others our own age or a bit older. I wouldn't change a thing.

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19 hours ago, E Morales said:

What happens is those nice ladies that are working in the kitchen, warming the food and getting everything ready. When they should be hearing and participating in the service. The only members that should be walking around is security, or someone to use the rest room. Members hanging around outside is another problem, just talking

I agree with that. We’ve had times where there’ll be three ladies setting up in the kitchen - where only one is needed - and Sometimes with children’s church on the other side of the divider. Or men taking long over their mid-service coffee. Adults forget and talk out loud and it was such a distraction to the kids. The fellowship can wait an extra ten minutes after service.

With Covid now, our basement fellowship space is service overflow. So now they can’t set up early and have to wait till after the service. 😏

 

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13 minutes ago, Salyan said:

I agree with that. We’ve had times where there’ll be three ladies setting up in the kitchen - where only one is needed - and Sometimes with children’s church on the other side of the divider. Or men taking long over their mid-service coffee. Adults forget and talk out loud and it was such a distraction to the kids. The fellowship can wait an extra ten minutes after service.

With Covid now, our basement fellowship space is service overflow. So now they can’t set up early and have to wait till after the service. 😏

 

Salyan, I'm sure you already realize this, but it's not the same way in every church. In our church, they have Jr. Church in the area where we fellowship. But, at the present, because of Covid, they can use one of the other, larger rooms which is away from the kitchen and fellowship hall. Many smaller churches do have a problem like you mentioned, though, and that's a shame. They really should wait until the service is complete. I know in a smaller church my wife and I worked with in Illinois would have the congregation sing a couple of hymns or ask for testimonies while the ladies warmed the dishes. It worked pretty well. 🙂 I believe that more than one lady will usually set up because it wouldn't seem fair to burden just one person when a second or third could help the process to be quicker. JMHO.

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Never said it was every church.

Trust me, as someone who’s likely spent more time in church kitchens, when someone needs to be present to watch the ovens, one person is sufficient and more people slow things down (and distract each other by talking).  I think there’s a saying about that somewhere…

 

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2 hours ago, Salyan said:

Never said it was every church.

Trust me, as someone who’s likely spent more time in church kitchens, when someone needs to be present to watch the ovens, one person is sufficient and more people slow things down (and distract each other by talking).  I think there’s a saying about that somewhere…

 

Please, pray tell, where I said it was in "every church." My aren't we touchy, or it seems so to me....am I reading you incorrectly? 

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You have a short memory. 😄 

46 minutes ago, BrotherTony said:

Please, pray tell, where I said it was in "every church." My aren't we touchy, or it seems so to me....am I reading you incorrectly? 

6 hours ago, BrotherTony said:

Salyan, I'm sure you already realize this, but it's not the same way in every church.

I don't appreciate having words put into my mouth, and I don't appreciate men mansplaining how they think a job they probably never do would work better (i.e. be 'fairer' or 'quicker') - but maybe I misread your intent on that second point. 

Also, if people aren't being touchy, suggesting they are being so is a great way to make them so. JMHO. 😉  
 

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21 minutes ago, Salyan said:

You have a short memory. 😄 

I don't appreciate having words put into my mouth, and I don't appreciate men mansplaining how they think a job they probably never do would work better (i.e. be 'fairer' or 'quicker') - but maybe I misread your intent on that second point. 

Also, if people aren't being touchy, suggesting they are being so is a great way to make them so. JMHO. 😉  
 

No offense was meant...but you DO seem to be a bit touchy to me. I wasn't "manslplaining...but, you're DEFINITELY entitled to your opinion. Again, no disrespect intended. I can only go by what the WOMEN in the churches I've attended and my wife have told me. I didn't hear much talk from them while I was teaching Childrens church just down the hall while they were preparing things.....As far as memory goes, I definitely DON'T have a short one! Have a nice evening.

Additional: I did look back over my post to you, and yes, I did use the words "every church," but you're taking the words out of context. Not cool!

Edited by BrotherTony
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So, anyway...

We, as I said, are a very small church. We meet in a manufactured home, so the kitchen and the "auditorium" are in one big room. Hence, if someone were to begin warming food (or, as has happened, turn on the coffee pot or the oven) while the service is going on, it would disturb the entire service...and has.  So, my husband, not too long after he became pastor, had to institute  "no working in the kitchen during service" . That sure cut down on a lot of interruption.

As I said, after the service we get things ready. I had to ask my husband to announce that the men give the ladies a chance to get stuff out because there were two men who thought they were special (they honestly did...) and could just bulldoze in as things were being set out and dish up their food because they were hungry. Apparently they didn't think anyone else was. lol.  Now the issue is that our kitchen area is so small that if two ladies are working there, it gets quite crowded. When there are 4, nothing gets done in a timely manner...

We have had attenders who think that, just because the kitchen is there, they can go to the fridge and get a drink, or go through cupboards looking for something, etc., during the service; bring in their coffee or whatever to the service area, etc. So we had to "close the kitchen." From 5 minutes before Sunday School til after the morning service, the kitchen is closed. We have a sign that says such that we put out...have to because there are folks who think if it's not there that means free-for-all.

Meeting in a manufactured home can be problematic in that folks associate it with a home rather than a church building. My hubs has worked on creating a less casual attitude toward meeting to corporately worship. God is good and has definitely helped us.  

That, I think, can be an unintended consequence of potlucks (or other dinners, etc) in a small church as well. 

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