Retooling: We Have To Start Listening


The 21st Century Retooling of the Church – Part XXII

If the 21st Century Church is to be retooled, one crucial change is if it is willing to “listen” to the still small voice of the Holy Spirit.  There is always the temptation to have organization and control instead of fluidity of the Spirit.  Allowing the Holy Spirit to flow freely is always a risk because we give up control.  As I addressed in an earlier blog, the bottom line is, “Can we trust the Holy Spirit?”

Personally, as I have learned to allow myself to “listen” to the Holy Spirit, my frustration with the organized church has risen.  When in a worship setting, while the congregation, or Body of Christ, is in the midst of singing, praising, and adoration, I love to just sit quietly and listen, something that is contrary to my very nature since I am an extravert.  I have learned that listening is of not much value if you do not act on what you hear in obedience.  This is where the frustration and tension builds.

When the Body of Christ, the believers of Jesus Christ, come together to worship, God’s Presence can always be found in the midst of His congregation.  The Spirit of Jesus Christ can always be found in the midst of his people, particularly when they gather in worship.  It is in these moments that the Spirit often speaks.  The Church needs to evaluate how is to respond when the Spirit speaks and moves among his people.

I have found myself actually getting a homily, a mini-sermon, while in this listening mode, but I have become frustrated because there is no outlet in the church service to release this revelation.  I feel the restriction because of the mindset that the “sermon” has already been planned and can only be delivered by the clergy who is in charge of the service.  The sermon has become the centerpiece of most Christian church services today. I have been at awe when the pastor’s prepared sermon was the exact message that I received while in the listening mode in worship.  Isn’t it neat how the Holy Spirit works.  When I have gotten a prophetic word about an individual during corporate worship, I have been obedient and gone to them with the message, which has always been “right on”, ministering to them right where they are at that time. My obedience has always produced positive fruit.

Church bulletins, liturgy booklets, etc. give order and direction to a church service, ensuring order and tradition. There is “safety” in following a planned agenda, for we are always in control knowing where to go and what is expected.  But when we “anticipate” the Holy Spirit’s arrival and give him freedom to move, then our planned agenda is in jeopardy, for we are delegating our control over to the Holy Spirit to move as he pleases.  Again can the 21st Century Church “trust” the Holy Spirit to arrive, to move, to speak, and to “maintain” what we believe is order?

If the 21st Century Church is to allow the Holy Spirit to be released in its midst, then the five fold is crucial to bring that “safety” that the church is seeking while allowing the Spirit to move freely.  The evangelist will encourage the “newness” of the “birthing” process that the Holy Spirit brings. The pastor/shepherd welcomes the Spirit’s movement as it touches the spirit and soul of those he is disciplining towards their maturity in Jesus.  The teacher will be amazed at how the Holy Spirit can make the Logos, written, Word into a Rhema, living, Word. The prophet will be in his element of comfort, while the apostle will marvel while “over seeing” how the Holy Spirit brings unity among these different motivational passions and points of view.  The “free” worship service, lead by the Holy Spirit , under the umbrella of the five fold, will bring fruit, be spontaneous, an operate in unity.  There is “safety” in “trusting” the Holy Spirit. That trust is one of the biggest “retooling” issues that the 21st Century Church has to address.