For those that may not know, a lectureship is either a weekend or a week-long event in which many different preachers, elders, deacons, teachers, and regular members get together to hear preaching about biblical topics. Instead of just hearing one or two sermons for 25 minutes like on a Sunday, we get to hear 45 minutes lessons all day long. It's very encouraging to hear all these different men teach the Word of God the way they do to encourage, edify, and instruct all of us. Although it can be tiring, more often than not I leave an event like this with a shot in the arm when it comes to "local work". In fact, many men that are in difficult congregations or situations rely on this week to keep them going in the work for Christ. I would like to jot down some lessons that are on the fringe of what we were actually taught this week for you to consider.
"You're not alone" is a resounding lesson from events like this. I remember my first lectureship. It was about a year after obeying the Gospel. I had never heard of a lectureship before and my future father-in-law was excited to share this kind of event with me. We drove about 45 minutes away to a congregation just like the one I was baptized in. There were men scheduled to preach on various topics, but the thing that hit me most was that all these people were Christians just like me. I had thought that what I was taught by the Gloucester Church of Christ was unique and special. It was, but it was also being taught all across the world. Going to that first lectureship taught me that although in our individual congregations we may feel like we are the only ones teaching and doing the truth, we aren't. We are not alone in our beliefs or our works.
"Your life is about building relationships" is another great lesson. The sermons we hear at these events are great, but you cannot compare it with seeing people you have been building friendships with for all the years you've been in the church. For me, seeing an old classmate from preaching school, or seeing a preacher I've been listening to online for the last year is the greatest feeling in the world. There is a special bond between members of the church and you get a different sense of that in environments like these. For example, the first year I came to Polishing the Pulpit there were over 2000 people in attendance on Sunday morning worship. There were just under 3000 people total last year. This year 4100+ people were here. To look out in the largest room you can imagine, and see nothing but people just like you who are in the body of Christ, it's awe inspiring. I am reminded of Revelation 7:9, "After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, people, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands and crying out with a loud voice, saying, "Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!" The number that attends this event is nothing in comparison to that great day, but it's a glimpse of it for sure.
I love coming to these events for so many reasons. I wish all of us could attend at least once to expand our view of the church and edify us.