10 Ways The Church Might Change: Point 9
[In a previous blog I have outlined 10 possible changes the Church may face in the future. This is point 9 in the series: Empowerment by the Holy Spirit will trump positions and offices. The Holy Spirit fell on ALL, men, women, & children in the Upper Room on Pentecost in fulfillment of the book of Joel. On that day the royal priesthood of believers was established and the Church, the body of Jesus Christ, was birthed. With revival comes empowerment by the Holy Spirit producing radical change in individual lives and corporate structures. The only way the Church will see revival is through empowerment by the Holy Spirit. The Sanhedrin, the Jewish governing body, knew these Galileans, these disciples, were different. They were not educated but were empowered from on high.]
With true revival comes empowerment. It has been quite a long time since I have attended a spontaneous gathering of believers who have no agenda but to be obedient to the Holy Spirit’s leading, where the Holy Spirit orchestrated the gathering and the direction of their fellowship, worship, and ministry. Gatherings that were highly unpredictable, but created a sense of excitement, a sense of urgency to what the Holy Spirit would say and do through His people. Even as various spiritual gifts arose during the meeting, there would always be a clear meaning, a crisp direction, a definite theme or message that was pertinent for the group at that time in their spiritual lives.
No man could orchestrate a gathering like that, but many have tried to recreate it. I recall at Jesus 74, an outdoor Jesus Festival on a farm in Mercer, Pennsylvania, one evening as the keynote speaker was giving the evening message, a thunderstorm was approaching from a distance producing a natural light show. Several campers retrieved their Coleman gas lanterns, fired them up, and laid them in the shape of the Cross on the hillside by the main arena. It was spontaneous, beautiful, effective, and added to the theme of the evening. The following year the powers that be at Jesus 75 tried to recreate that same atmosphere as they planned and orchestrated candles to be handed out. When properly cued, people were to light them as a plane flew overhead to film the event. At first they handed candles to people who would make up the shape of the Cross, so the Cross would be lit. Then someone changed their mind and wanted the area round the cross area to be lit outlining the dark figure of the Cross. Soon people were throwing candles in all directions producing confusion, chaos, and igniting tempers. Finally, upon cue, candles were lit, the plane flew overhead, but the event was never as effective as its predecessor a year earlier because it was man-orchestrated trying to recreate what was Holy Spirit-orchestrated a year earlier.
True revival demands TRUST, TRUST in the Holy Spirit. Most churches are skeptical at what the Holy Spirit will do, because often the Holy Spirit goes outside the bounds of what the church has labeled as normal or acceptable behavior. Revivals are often messy. To prevent that, the church wants to keep “order”; “order” means “control”. If the Church wants revival, guess who has to be in “control”? The Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ! Jesus is the head of the Church, so the Church has to learn to lose control and give the control back to the head. “But what happens if…” is the cry I most often hear. Bottom Line: You need to ask these questions: Who is in control? Can you TRUST the Holy Spirit?
It has been well over a decade since I have attended a meeting that was spontaneously led by the Holy Spirit that was totally unpredictable about what was going to happen but created an excitement of expectancy. It has almost been that long since I have attended an unplanned, unrehearsed, unorchestrated meeting where the agenda was open and the gifts of the spirit would flow freely among the priesthood of believers, and out of the manifestation of those varied gifts would come a theme, a message.
Now I am not saying that the Holy Spirit is not in today’s congregational church services, for where two or more are gathered, there Jesus is, but I am saying that we now have such preplanned, highly orchestrated, professional sounding and orated presentations called worship services that there is very little time or space allowed for spontaneity by the Holy Spirit through the diversity of the Christians present. It goes too smoothly, very professionally, and is highly predictable. Churches with multiple weekend services feature genetically the same format for all services, even down to the exact sermon preached and music sang. Everything is so predictable; there is no room for spontaneity buy the laity.
True revival is lead by believers in Jesus Christ who are willing to listen to the Holy Spirit and are obedient to what they are told, no matter how ridiculous it may sound. It does not have to be led by high church offices or a professional staff, only by anyone willing to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit because the Holy Spirit is incharge and is looking for willing, obedient vessels through which to speak and minister.
What the spirit of revival is looking for is willing vessels who will allow themselves to be empowered by Jesus Christ to perform whatever the Holy Spirit asks them to do. It can be men, women, and even children. All it takes is a willingness and an openness to be “empowered from on high”, just like Jesus’ disciples were during and following their Pentecost experience. Holy Spirit come; Holy Spirit empower your believers!