Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:25, NIV 1984).
My Musings – Saw this comment on Facebook from a “live church services — by radio” ministry that “also have regular meetings in a home,” in response to the above text: “a meeting doesn’t HAVE TO BE in a church building on Sunday!” (Emphasis his).
This is really all I know about the ministry, so I am not able to say it is not a church. But without the regular meetings in a home, it clearly would not be a church. A ministry, yes. A church, no. While a “church building” is not a requirement of being a church “meeting together” is, assuming that the NIV is appropriately translating the Greek. Which I trust that it is.
Meeting– an assembly of people. Together–with or in proximity to another person or people. Radio and internet broadcasts can be, and many are, great at supplementing the gathering together. Particularly for shut-ins and during unusual times like the recent pandemic. But they can never be a substitute for gathering together. They can be great at offering encouragement, but by definition they cannot “encourage one another.” And absent a governing body of some kind there is no accountability for the ministry, and none for the listeners.
Not even face time or “zoom” are satisfactory substitutes for “meeting together.” For example, we live a distance from our son and new grandson. And face time is great when we cannot be “in proximity.” But all things considered, I would rather visit face-to-face than via face time. Or, given the opportunity to watch the Super Bowl live or on TV, which would we likely choose? Or a music video versus a live performance? Yet since the pandemic more and more people are making a “habit” of giving “up meeting together.” Yes, you can worship anywhere, but you cannot do community in isolation.
My Advice – “Meeting together” has always been important. But it is growing “more importanter” as we “see the Day approaching.” You don’t have to give up your favorite media ministry, but make a commitment to community.