How often are we supposed to gather together as the Church—as the Called-Forth of God? For most active Christians and Messianics, the standard practice is to attend at least one weekend worship service. But should that weekly meeting really be our goal? Does participating in a once-a-week worship event truly reflect the Bible’s example for when we should gather ourselves together?
It is commonly accepted that the Sabbath (the biblical, seventh-day Shabbat, or the Christian Sunday Sabbath, depending upon one’s faith tradition) is the primary, designated day for gathering. Yet the Torah never actually prescribes any specific Shabbat gathering outside the context of the entire assembly of the people of Israel meeting at one, single place. And as for the Shabbat being the weekly day of worship, the Bible simply never makes such a suggestion. So while the Torah most certainly outlines specially appointed times for the whole nation of Israel to observe and celebrate together, from the perspective of the gathering of the Called-Forth, those appointed times—including the Shabbat—are a completely separate issue. This does not mean that the Called-Forth is not permitted meet on the Shabbat, but only that there are no specific commands for Shabbat where the gathering of believers in Yeshua are concerned. Even the Shabbat customs of Yeshua and Paul—in which we see them primarily engaged in the sharing of the Good News with unbelievers—fail to inform us about when the Called-Forth should meet.
The assertion by Christianity that Sunday (the first of the week) is the biblical day of worship also finds no Scriptural support. While passages like 1 Corinthians 16:1f and Acts 20:7ff depict certain events taking place on the first day of the week, upon examination, the content and greater context of any such passages still fall far short of establishing Sundays as the God-ordained day for weekly believer’s gatherings.
So because neither the appointed times of Israel, nor the customs of Yeshua and Paul, nor Christianity’s cherry-picked passages about the first day of the week are able to advise us in this matter, that leaves one last biblical place to look: the actual patterns and practices of the earliest believers. And it is, in fact, Paul who provides the most definitive answer about how often the Called-Forth are supposed to gather together. He says in 1 Corinthians 14:26,
“Whenever you come together….”
That’s it. Just whenever. Not “whenever” as in, “if you happen to feel like it,” but “whenever” as in, “at whatever time” and “however often.” Similarly, regarding the Master’s Meal—which takes place during the gathering—Paul says in 1 Corinthians 11:26 that it should occur “often.” In other words, there is no particular day, time or frequency that the Scriptures say the Called-Forth should meet, only that our gatherings should be whenever and repeatedly.
And while the natural rhythm of the seven-day cycle clearly lends itself to a regularly-planned weekly gathering, the biblical practice and ideal of when the first believers met together was actually more than “whenever” and “repeatedly.” The ultimate example of the believers meeting together was not weekly, but daily, as Acts 2:46-47 records,
“Also, continuing daily with one mind in the Temple and breaking bread from house to house… every day, the Master was adding together those being saved.”
The first believers did not multiply and build up the Called-Forth through prescheduled meetings, but an organic and persistent need to be in the presence of other believers. They met together, ate together, learned together and shared the Messiah together so often not because it was on their schedule, but because they were unable to resist their Master’s call. If we truly want to be the Called-Forth of God, then we must gather together as effectively and as often as we can. Because we are not functioning as the Called-Forth unless we are gathered together—which, as the Scriptures show us, should be repeatedly, daily, and whenever.
What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments below!