Part II – My Story & The Church’s Challenge

Supernaturally Natural: Rethink The Way We, The Church, Worships Corporately – Part II

From Supernaturally Natural: Chapter 15 manuscript by Anthony Bachman

Anthony Bachman, blog's AuthorThe summer of 1974 proved to be a life-changing year for me. That is the summer that I had to learn to trust the Holy Spirit.

I began to hunger for God. As the Youth Advisor of the church that I was attending, I found myself in a precarious position. I had organized many evangelistic endeavors for the youth under my leadership, yet I saw no fruit. I was doing “everything right”, but seeing no fruit. I wanted to see fruit! I became hungry for God.

By the end of that summer my hunger was satisfied.  I would go to the Mennonites First Conference on the Holy Spirit in Landisville, PA and make the commitment of Jesus as my Lord, not just only my Savior. I would then receive the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. Reading my Bible feverishly, I began to highlight passages in various colors. Studying the Bible came alive. For a fortnight I sat under the teaching of Malcolm Smith, a phenomenal Old Testament Teacher, and another fortnight under Gerald Derstine, an ex-Mennonite whose life had been dramatically changed by the yielding to the leading of the Holy Spirit.   Malcolm SmithMy boundaries were extended when traveling to the other side of the state to  attend Jesus 74, a hippy-type” Jesus rally featuring leading national teachers and contemporary Jesus Bands.

I had the distinct privilege of attending several Saturday night meetings at the Presbyterian church in Parkesburg, PA led by a senior saint Presbyterian pastor, Jim Brown. This “Prayer and Praise” meeting, where people came from all around the world to attend, had been vibrant for almost twenty years.  Watching Jim lead this meeting taught me how to the Holy Spirit can work in an organized structure of worship that allowed fluency and flow in its meetings.  Although structured, he allowed that for “special music” that was never planned, testimonies from those in the audience whom he did not know, and ministry to people throughout the service, and bringing order and unity back into the flow by having everyone holding hands while singing the Lord’s Prayer.

“There is safety in trusting the Holy Spirit!”

What would happen if the church allowed the Holy Spirit to unconditionally run the “order of worship” on a Sunday? It is hard to totally let go and yield to the Spirit, but what might happen?

I got a small glimpse of what might happen when I attended a church and saw a dramatic change in their order of worship. Their routine consisted of a two-part service, the former naturally turned into a hymn sing while the later comprised of a sermon. This group’s tradition allowed for anyone to call out a page number from their hymnal/chorus book, and everyone would sing. One hour of singing, one hour of teaching became their natural routine until one Sunday when their routine changed every so insignificantly. On this one Sunday rather than just singing, one person had enough courage to stand and read a scripture that came alive during their private devotional time during the week following by someone yelling out a hymn number as everyone sang. The theme of the hymn paralleled the scripture. Then another person stood and gave a testimony of how that scripture and that hymn applied to their life. Son another arose also giving another scripture, another a testimony, another a hymn number, all sang. When it was time for the sermon, everyone witness the amazement of the theme of the sermon being exactly what the thread of the Holy Spirit had been throughout the time of sharing and singing. This first week viewed as interesting, different, but naturally everyone did not expect it to happen again.

They were wrong! It happened again the following week with even greater vigor. Soon everyone began to “expect” this phenomenon of the Holy Spirit orchestrating the service, and again the theme of the scriptures, testimonies, singing, and the sermon were woven into a tapestry of worship. People could not wait until the next week, for their expectancy grew to the point of “anticipation” that the Holy Spirit would not only show up but also orchestrate the service.

“There is safety in trusting the Holy Spirit!”

How can we get our churches, our congregations, to have an atmosphere of expectancy, of anticipated excitement?  By allowing the Holy Spirit to activate every beleivers’s participation in the service.