10 Ways The Church Might Change: Point 1
[In a previous blog I have outlined 10 possible changes the Church may face in the future. This is point 1 in the series:
Like the current technology explosion, the Holy Spirit, and the way the Church sees revival will no longer be looked upon as a local phenomenon (revival to hit my congregation) but globally. The next Great Revival will be world wide in an effort to prepare the Bride, the Church, for the Groom, the Lord’s return.]
I have been fortunate in seeing the effects of the Jesus Movement of the 1970’s that later became known as the Charismatic Movement. I attended the East Coast out door Jesus and Creation Festivals for over three decades, attended a huge Holy Spirit led Conference in the late ‘80’s in New Orleans, caught the tail end of the Parksburg, PA experience at the Lower Octorera Presbyterian Church led by Jim Brown, and participated in the only joint Crusade in York, PA history in 1977 where over 350 local churches joined together for that event.
My friend, Harry Rutt, use to tape and reproduce cassette tapes of hundred of speakers during that time at Jesus Rallies and Full Gospel Business meetings all up and down the East Coast. “Prayer & Praise” Groups were informally meeting in private homes throughout the U.S. in the 1970’s. Contemporary Christian music became the forerunner of what today is acceptable worship music in most Christian Churches. Tongues and interpretation and the releasing of spiritual gifts were prevalent.
Most churches ignored, rejected, or opposed the movement, but you could not help but recognize something was happening to the Church; the Spirit was moving, and it was not only nationally, but globally.
Today many individual churches often pray for revival to come to them, but I have discovered that true revival usually occurs outside the established bounds we, the church, have set. Revival is bigger than just me, or my congregation or even my denomination or label. As we find ourselves immersed in the internet generation of the world wide web, we are beginning to understand a “world wide” mentality better as a Church. Computers, smart phones, Skyping, Facebooking, emailing, texting, tweeting, and a whole myriad of technological communication wonders have brought the global mentality home. Missionaries no longer have to be isolated, but can be in touch with all areas of the world if there is WiFi connectivity. Church Youth Groups who have been disbanded by educational opportunities, career, families moving, and jobs now stay in “contact” through Facebook. I know that many of the hits on this web site come from other speaking nations from around the world.
I see the distinction of what once defined denominationalism being blurred. Most Christians today cannot tell you the difference between a Presbyterian, an United Methodist, a Lutheran, a Baptist, and Independent Bible Believing Fundamentalist, or a Pentecostal. As church services have reflected cultural and age differentiations, church organs are out; guitar, drum, & keyboard are in! Hymnals are replaced by projected lyrics on huge screens. Pulpits are replaced by full fledge theatrical stages with sets. Church bulletins are replaced by emails, tweets, and textings. In a small area near me there is a Nazarene Church, a Lutheran Church, an Assembly of God Church, and an Independent Church, and all of their “worship” services are generic in spite of their religious labels of distinction. You can’t tell the difference between them theologically nor historically by visiting their “worship service” on Saturday night or Sunday.
When, not if, revival comes, it will not be a local phenomenon at some local church that now has the “inside” touch by God over the other local churches nearby. It will affect us locally, but it will go beyond local, regional, national, and international lines. It will be global. God is bigger than us!
I remember people coming from all around the world to attend Jim Brown’s Saturday night Prayer and Praise service at his packed Presbyterian church, but today, the same could be done electronically through the wonders and possibilities of the world wide web and its technologies. You do not have to come “into a church building” to hear testimonies of believers, nor sermons presented “from an inhouse pulpit”. You can get that on the internet. The only thing the internet can not supply is in-person fellowship and relationships at a deeper level, thus the need for corporate family of God time locally. I know of a local church that has high tech services with a professional sounding “band” to “lead worship” and a projection screen to give a full size projection of the pastor giving the sermon as if he is present when in actually he is being simulcast to five different locations at once. You can also hear his sermon on a local radio station, and probably can load down his sermons as podcasts from their web site. You can get lost in the large crowd coming for the techno-service, or not even attend at all to “hear the sermon”. What is missing is the relationships.
In the book of Acts, believers “broke break together,” ate together, not texting while going through a drive-through fast food restaurant. They gave to those in need because they personally new the person in need. They did not have to look for a web site to “google” a cause they could donate to! They laid hands on the sick, not researching online about the disease, then finding web sites of medical “services” provided on web pages.
When revival hits, it will effect relationships which we will discuss in an upcoming blog in this series; and it will be world wide, global, not just local. The “whole Church” of Jesus Christ will be effected, not just our local church having the inside scoop on the Holy Spirit wanting “outsiders” to “come in”!
If the church wants change, they have to accept that it will be global!