I have been praying much since the Lord told us through His prophet, that He was going to give us a plan for ministry that would revolutionize the church world. I want to lay ahold of this plan, not for my glory or ability to bring something unique, but in order to bring something to birth that would reap a great harvest of souls for Jesus in these last days and awaken His Body for service.
Last Sunday, in my own church, I was much grieved with this longing and could not continue the service….no songs, no sermon presentation as such, no particular agenda. All I could do was get before the Lord and lament the condition of my church…. ‘where are our souls’.
When it is all said and done, that is all that matters.
I have been thinking since then about how we all got this pattern that is used for church services. It is basically the same in all denominations (except those that have a liturgy, and even they are ‘stuck’ in a routine): songs, greeting, announcements, offering, sermon, altar call.
Why does it have to be that way and who said so?
A verse of Scripture that has been coming to my heart quite a bit lately is: “break up your fallow ground”.
“Sow to ourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground; for it is time to seek the Lord, till he come and rain righteousness on you.” (Hosea 10:12) “It’s time to till the ready earth, it is time to dig in with God, until He arrives with righteousness ripe for harvest”, (Message).
Joel: “call a solemn assembly”:
“Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly: gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children, and those that suck the breasts: let the bridegroom go forth of his chamber and the bride out of her closet. Let the priests, the ministers of the Lord weep between the porch and the altar and let them say, “Spare thy people, O Lord, and give not thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them: wherefore should they say among the people: Where is their God?
Is it possible to come together just for prayer in our services? Break up our ‘fallow ground’ of our traditional approach to the way services are held? Pastors/ministers why, after they spend time praying and preparing, there is no greater level of spirituality in their congregations. Perhaps it is because the people themselves aren’t praying!
I heard this statement: “the Reformation isn’t completed”. The person making this statement was referring to the fact that, the Church (I am referring to the Body of Christ when I capitalize ‘Church’) hasn’t returned to the pattern set forth in the Book of Acts.
Slowly since Martin Luther, the ‘apostles’ doctrine’ has been returning to the church, beginning with ‘the just shall live by faith’, but we haven’t seemed to be able to get to the Acts pattern for gatherings of believers: “And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people, And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.” (Acts 2:46-47).
Acts 2:42, sets out four things only that constituted ‘church’ in the Primitive Church:
1) the apostles’ doctrine (maybe teaching came first in their gatherings, the only thing ‘planned’)
2) fellowship (fellowship is always good after a Holy Ghost teaching session.
3) breaking of bread …. Communion and meals together.
4) prayers ….. And what prayers they were! The supernatural manifested in answer to their prayers.
Who has the courage to begin ‘having church’ after this pattern?
Calling all the clans together……..let’s march on traditional ways of doing church!