Encouraging, Living, Reaching


An Open Letter to Young Men in the Assemblies

An Open Letter to Young Men in the Assemblies

Dear Young Men (and any other men who care to read!),

I was recently meeting with some of the ladies from our local church, and they thanked me for being “motherly” to them.  To be honest, I was a bit taken aback as I honestly was thinking of them as peers because we all get along so well and share back and forth what the Lord is doing in our lives.

However, I do have five children, two of whom are already adults, and I suppose I am older than most of those ladies. After thinking of myself in this new light, I was thinking that perhaps I should embrace this role and try to encourage our younger brothers as well.

I want to address the issue of participating vocally in the Lord’s Supper

First, let me say that I know it is a lot of pressure on you to feel like you should stand up and speak.  You may feel pressure from elders, other believers, and most of all, from yourself.

Second, I am sure it is hard to figure out when the Holy Spirit is actually leading you to get up and share.  Is it supposed to be a feeling?  A mysterious urging that comes over you?  What does “the Spirit leading” look and feel like?

Third, I bet it’s difficult to feel like you need to fit what you share into some kind of theme or link songs that someone gives out to what someone has prayed.  Some men seem to be so good at it.  Maybe you’re thinking, “Why didn’t I see that?”

Fourth, it might be really hard not to compare yourself with the older men, who may use “Thees and Thous” in prayer or other flowery terms. You might feel insecure about that.

Here are 4 things I would like you to know

  1. Sharing at the Lord’s Supper isn’t about feeling pressured to do so.  The Lord (and the rest of us) want to hear worship coming from a thankful heart.  It might not be easy; it’s a sacrifice.  I am sure for some it’s completely uncomfortable. However, did you know that for some of the women sitting there, it’s completely uncomfortable to keep silent?  Silence is also a sacrifice.  The Lord is taking us all out of our comfort zones so that it’s just not about us! It’s all about Him.
  2. The Holy Spirit can lead you all week long.  If you read your Bible, thoughts will come to you about the Lord’s greatness, Jesus’ sacrifice, things He has done in your own life.  When a speaker gets up to preach, do you think that he comes without studying? The entire time he is studying, the Spirit is leading him in what to say from the pulpit on Sunday. I don’t think you need to wait for a mysterious feeling to come upon you to get up and worship Him.  He wants our worship all the time, so you really can’t go wrong with getting up and sharing how amazing He is or praying directly to Him and telling Him that you think so.
  3. Sometimes, something one of the other men says will make you think of a song to give out.  But most often, it will probably make you think of how great our God is.  You may think, “Wow! God is so amazing! Thank you Lord!”  What do you think would happen if you actually said that out loud?  If you actually said, “Wow! God is so amazing! Thank you Lord!”  It would draw all of our hearts to agreement and it would help us all reflect on His character and His love and thank Him (a.k.a. worship!)
  4. Coming from someone who has sat through the Lord’s Supper since birth, take it from me.  DO NOT WORRY about being flowery or fancy.  Just talk straight from the heart.  If we had every man there just simply saying why the Lord is awesome for sending His Son for us or for how that affects their lives, we wouldn’t have prolonged periods of silence and we would come away with hearts burning in gratitude.

These are my thoughts that I wanted to share.  I realize I didn’t use any Scripture to support these points.  I could dig some up, but the point here is just to have you see things from a different perspective – a “motherly” perspective, I suppose.

If you only take one thing away from this encouragement, let it be this:  You are my voice.  You are the voice of the women sitting in silence.  Please lead us in worship.  We can sit and pray on our own, but we long to be led by sincere men who just draw our hearts towards the Lord in complete gratitude. Honestly, you can keep it simple.

Prayerfully,
A “motherly” assembly girl

Sherri Jason

Sherri and her husband Chris are in happy fellowship at Thorold South Gospel Chapel in Ontario, Canada.  She is involved in serving as an elder’s wife in various areas and particularly enjoys being involved in music ministry and working alongside the other believers in her assembly.  Along with raising their five children, she stays busy with assemblyHUB and other ministries.

 

8 Responses to An Open Letter to Young Men in the Assemblies

  1. Don gustafson

    Sherri, I enjoyed reading this and think your points are right on. Just to remember to let the ladies know they also have a voice. They are also priests and can bring of what they have meditated on to the Lord but silently. They have a responsibility to bring praise and worship every Lord’s day.

    • Sherri Jason

      Don, thank you for your comment. I do absolutely agree with you that the women have a voice before the Lord. I am just trying to encourage the men to represent us in a collective voice and speak on our behalf.

  2. Martha

    I appreciate these encouragements to the young men. I often try to follow up with our young men by thanking them during the break for the good word they shared. In fact, I try to do this when I am able with each of the men that God uses to lead us in worship.
    May I also say, that we as women do have a voice that speaks louder than words. Our head covering is the very act of worship the Lord longs to see us display before Himself and the angels. It says, “yes Lord, I love you” and “thank you, for loving me”.

  3. Joseph Raju

    A very timely advice. The irony is that it is coming from an Elder’s wife. Our Assemblies are declining. One reason is that our Lord’s Supper service is declining and rarely young people participate in many assemblies. They are not encouraged or trained by the Elders to attend and participate in this meeting. Recently there was a very good article in the Cornerstone Magazine (Jan-Feb 2017) issue on the Lord’s Supper participation. Encourage the readers to read that article and also get the subscription of the Magazine. This is a new Assembly magazine started by Brethren from USA and Canada. We lost our passion for the perishing and longing to worship our loving and living Lord. I have shared this article in my FB.

  4. As a 37 year old man who was born into the assemblies, grew up in the assemblies, and then chose to leave the assemblies at the age of 36… your article highlights one of the reasons why I left.

    Some bodies of Christians seem to have their “obsessions”. For instance, the charismatics are obsessed with speaking in tongues. In their eyes, you cannot be a “spiritual” believer unless you speak in tongues. Many bible churches (I.E. John McArthur) are obsessed with Calvinism. In their eyes, you are not a “spiritual” believer unless you reject the teachings of free will and embrace the teachings of God’s sovereign predestination.

    The Plymouth Brethren assemblies have their obsession. The Lord’s Supper & meeting according to “new testament principles”. Thru this obsession, they create false standards of spirituality just like the charismatics and the bible churches. These false standards of spirituality are heavy burdens, placed on young men (and old men). They are pressured to stand up. Pressured to share. Pressured to give a hymn. Pressured to pray. After all, if you love the Lord, this is what you do right? And if you fail to do this for an extended period of time… how does the church view you? You may receive extra encouragement from the elders, reminding you of your manly duty. People may whisper behind your back, wondering why you don’t want to share. People may love you, but they wonder “What’s wrong”.

    How does this man-made standard of spirituality line up with what Jesus says? Well, his word to the Pharisees is very applicable. Jesus says, “They crush people with unbearable religious demands and never lift a finger to ease the burden.” (Matthew 23:4) Just think how these demands feel to young men who are extremely shy, introverted rather than extroverted, not well-spoken? They are taught that their failure to stand up and share is somehow, someway cheating their Savior. What cruelty! Especially since neither Jesus nor any of the apostles ever give an explicit command to do this! “Thou shalt stand up in remembrance meeting!” Sorry. Not in the Bible. Jesus’ focus is elsewhere.

    Here’s another applicable saying of Jesus to the Pharisees, “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices–mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law–justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.” (Matthew 23:23)

    The Pharisees had their obsession, too. They were obeying the letter of the law… to the point of tithing a 10th of their spices. But Jesus rebukes them and basically says, “You guys are missing the point! Your missing the big picture! I want justice for the oppressed! Mercy for sinners! And faithfulness to me and to others! You are failing to deliver!”

    Likewise, I came to the conclusion the assemblies were in the same boat. They are so focused on doing things “the right way”, they miss the big picture. Remembering the Lord “the right way”. Meeting “the right way”. Women covering their heads and being silent “the right way”. Avoiding clergy and having elders and church leadership “the right way”. But they miss the big picture, which is LOVE!!! In my 36 years in the assemblies, I attended many different meetings in the midwest. I saw the exact same situation in nearly all of them (a couple exceptions). They refused to associate with any other local churches, but instead kept themselves separate. That’s not love. And, apart from a children’s ministry and the occasional door-to-door outreach, had no interaction with the local community. They didn’t serve anyone. They didn’t help the poor. They didn’t help the oppressed. They didn’t reach out to the adult, godless population with genuine love and acceptance like Jesus did (this man receives sinners and eats with them! Even prostitutes!). To consider doing so made people seem uncomfortable. Instead, people were expected to look, dress, speak, and act a certain way.

    Why are so many young people leaving the assemblies? I think this is part of the reason. Young men don’t want to live under a heavy burden. Also, I think God has given many of them insight that this really isn’t what following Him is all about. He is more interested in justice, mercy, and faithfulness. Keeping oneself pure while serving the fatherless and the widow. Loving God by serving the least of these. Until the assemblies repent and refocus on what really matters, they will continue to be a dying denomination that becomes more and more inconsequential to Christendom with each passing year.

    • Sherri Jason

      Hi Josh,
      Thank you for your reply. I can see you have been disillusioned by the assemblies in general, and in truth, many have.

      I am happy to see men and women open to recognition that we have been putting tradition on the same level as doctrine. People are ready for a change. If we don’t change some practice, we may very well die out.

      However, the men have been called to lead in the local church. Paul said in 1 Tim. that men (male) should “pray everywhere”. It’s not about pressure, it’s about sacrifice and submission to what the Lord asks of us. I do believe “what’s wrong?” is a fair question to ask of any of us who are unwilling to sacrifice for the Lord, in any aspect of our lives.

      I am with you in longing to see us characterized by the love of Christ, and I am so happy to be part of a local church that has a genuine love for the lost and also hold onto the roles that were laid out for us. I never want the legal over love. May the Lord help us to want to genuinely respond to His plan for us. I have much hope for our assemblies, and I can sense the Lord really opening hearts to reveal whatever pride is standing in the way.

    • Jim Paul

      Sherri this is an excellent article and hope the young men are encouraged by it. I hope many of the men reading this will be challenged by it.

      Jim Paul

  5. Ray jones

    Thanks so much for this! As you said..the Lord is looking forworship from a thankful heart. He can sort out our fumbling words.

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