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Queries for Session #4 of Friendly 7s

Worship Sharing on Vocal Ministry

The following are excerpts are from William Taber, Four Doors to Meeting for Worship, Pendle Hill Pamphlet #306:

How can ministering Friends— or anyone who feels led to speak in a meeting—be sure that we are not speaking too often, or too long, or from our own ideas, now that we are no longer accountable in the way that recorded ministers once were?

The most sure way is to make certain that we are speaking out of that special state of consciousness of the Door Within, that multiple meshing when we feel ourselves united both with fellow worshippers and with the Divine. As we become experienced with that state of consciousness it gradually becomes easier to discern between the many subtle pressures to speak and an authentic Divine urging to be a channel for a message.

The traditional signs which accompany an authentic leading to speak are rapid breathing, rapid beating of the heart and sometimes a trembling (we are not called Quakers for nothing!), but these physical manifestations are actually a response to the inward motion of the Spirit, which at first may seem very subtle and difficult to discern. In time an experienced Friend (or anyone who is practiced in contemplation) will come to recognize and rely more and more on the sure, clear knowing characteristic of the inward motion. At that point the traditional physical reactions characteristic of a leading to speak are less accurate signs than is a skilled, practiced awareness of the inward motion and of the inward peace which follows such speaking.

Queries for Friendly 7s Session #4:

  • Have you ever felt “called” to minister in Meeting for Worship and resisted? What happened? Try to describe it for the group.
  • What questions might you ask yourself to discriminate between a message for you personally, or one to share with the entire meeting.
  • Generally we try to “speak without pre-arrangement” when ministering to meeting. Have you ever been tempted to read a quote (scripture, poetry or writing) to the meeting? What happened?
  • Who is “in charge” of identifying inappropriate ministry? Have you ever experienced this in meeting?
  • Does the Divine only speak to us through words? Have you experienced any other type of ministry in Meeting for Worship? Describe what happened and try to explain how you felt about it at the time. Did you still feel that way later?

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