When To Take Communion
Communion is a considered one of the main ordinances of the church. It was first instituted by Jesus before His death, called the Lord's Supper (Cf. Matthew 26:26; Mark 14:22; Luke 22). We take communion to remember Jesus' brutal death on the cross, but we also celebrate His resurrection - the gospel. Through the history of our church, we've offered communion on the first Sunday of the New Year and the Sunday before Easter. Other than that, communion services were held 'as needed' (I'll explain this later) throughout the year. Over the past couple of months, we have incorporated communion in our services on a more regular basis. I would like to explain the intentions and purpose behind this.
There are some different views of when to take communion. Some believe it should to be taken corporately every week, others once a month, or some, even less than that. We honestly believe it shouldn't be a divisive issue and should be a church's conviction, and here's why:
1) Paul says in 1 Corinthians 11:26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.
This can be taken a couple of ways: however often you take communion... or you should take it often. Either way, there is nowhere in the New Testament that specifies the frequency of taking communion. When there is space in the text, I like to look at other scriptures to help illuminate a general point. Paul's words to the church in Colossae help in this- Colossians 2:16 So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, 17 which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ. He also tells them, Colossians 3:23, And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men. Whether a church offers it weekly or throughout the year, we shouldn't judge others about the number of times it is taken, because it's something we do as unto the Lord.
2) Our intentions and purpose of taking communion then.
As explained above, our church has always offered communion on the first Sunday of January and the Sunday before Easter. The other times were based on personal convictions, usually driven by a need for unity in our church. This was also Paul's reasoning to the church in Corinth (Cf. 1 Corinthians 11:18-19). There was division in the church and communion was an opportunity to bring the church together under what Jesus had done for all of them-the gospel.
3) Our intentions and purpose of taking communion today.
Recently, it has been our prayer and conviction to offer communion on a more regular basis, at least once a month. There are a few reasons behind this. One being, communion focuses our attention on Jesus and the gospel. The more we can do that, the better since He is the reason why we gather. Secondly, we see so much division and hatred in our world that unfortunately sneaks it's way into the Church - politics, race, etc. There is no better remedy to unify all walks of life better than remembering what the gospel of Jesus has done for us, and what we believe it will do for others. Taking communion keeps our focus on the mission and off of our opinions and bias. Lastly, everything the scripture instructs to do corporately in service is done at Eleven Sixteen - singing, prayer, preaching, giving, fellowship. We also do some permissible things scripture is silent on- announcements, coffee, using video elements, etc. Here's my point: if we can give five minutes a week to announcements, why not offer a scriptural corporate element more consistently, like communion?
As always, we will continue to point people Jesus and strive to be humble teachers, with a teachable spirit. Thank you for your faithfulness and love for the Savior.