A Friend at Meeting is fond of saying "A Meeting where there is no spoken ministry is a Meeting on it's way down". I am very fond of the words folks share when they speak form the silence, but I am not sure I agree with this Friend's statement. Our Meeting is small, ten or fifteen people each week, and it's not uncommen to have no one rise to speak.

 

Maybe God is sharing messages with us intended for the individual only. Maybe we need to be better listeners. Sometimes several people speak at Meeting. What do you think? Is a lack of shared messages during silent worship a problem?

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In my own experience, sometimes our meetings are quiet because we are receiving inward communion with Christ in the silence and this inward teaching is sufficient, without words. When this is the case, a quiet Meeting can be a place where real ministry is being done, even without words being spoken.

On the other hand, I think that many times there is not merely a quietness, but a deadness in the silence. Oftentimes, we really aren't listening as a group. A significant part of the group may not be seeking God, but instead are occupied in other things during the silence. At times, I have experienced something worse than mere deadness in the silence: An active spirit of inattention and disruption. In such cases, God may call on us to deliver vocal ministry to call Friends out of this deadening spirit.

So - I guess my answer is: "It depends." If Christ is being received inwardly by Friends and is teaching his people himself, then it is good that we speak, offer vocal prayer, or remain silent as the Lord leads. Whether we speak or remain in silence, if we are not responding to the inward work of the Lord, we are in serious trouble as a fellowship.

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