Sunday was a strange day. As I was driving to the church, I was praying to have an expectant heart as I attend and serve at our weekend services. I don’t remember the last time that I prayed this, and if I was honest, it upsets me. I prayed that God would speak to me, that he would speak to his people, and give me a fresh revelation of who he is. I guess I assumed that would just come through a portion of the teaching, but instead it came through a literal meltdown.
About 8:15 as the worship band was practicing, a bolt of lightening hit the church. It made a strange sound, something like I have never heard before. It sent electricity through the building, and immediately the lights started to wig out, speakers made some alien-ish noises, and we were all left wondering what in the world just happened. We are still working through all of the damage that was caused, but from the initial estimate, it took out about 25% of our church’s tech setup. We are pretty blessed, and we have an amazing teaching ministry – and with that comes pro lighting, sound, video, networking, and much more. We have some pretty important components that are simply not working right now. Thankfully we have insurance, so we will see what happens! But thats not the whole story…
Without our equipment that enables us to stream, broadcast, and archive our services, we were forced to simplify our worship and teaching service. We didn’t have any projection, lights, amplification, or internet, but just a simple worship set and message for God’s people. It was simply amazing. It was authentic, nostalgic, and a reminder of the power of simplicity. I have not been able to stop thinking about how powerful those services were, and maybe what I can learn personally, as well as about church administration and corporate worship.
The temptation is to say, “See, that is how worship should be,” or “We just need to get rid of the drums and the electric guitar and sing acapella each week.” There are so many opinions about how a church should function, I will admit I have plenty!
The answer isn’t ditching what we know about modern worship or corporate church, but realizing and embracing the power of what God is doing in a moment. What does he want to teach us?
The reason I believe this was such a powerful service is because we were off the routine. I am deeply afraid that we come to church each week with a lack of expectancy, a casual appreciation for a time to listen to 4 songs and a message with an awkward meet and greet in the middle. Instead of embracing the power of worship, allowing those songs (whether we like the drums or not) to speak and prepare our hearts for receiving the Word, and for the pastor to bring a message that is timely and needed for our souls, we just show up because it is what we do.
A life with Jesus isn’t meant to be stale. Church doesn’t have to be stale. God most certainly isn’t stale, look at all that is around us! A church service on the weekend was never designed to be all inclusive. It is a time to gather together as God’s people to worship together, be taught together, and then sent out together. It is not the totality of the Christian’s life.
We were designed to be around people, to experience things that are real, to serve someone, to see God move in our lives, and to experience the power of His Holy Spirit working through us as we roll through the punches of life.
I have to believe that the lack of power and purpose in a Christian’s life is because there is not a sense of expectation that God wants to work in our lives now or that he wants to teach us something right now! A true life of worship has nothing to do with the music, but everything to do with the lifestyle. I believe we had powerful services yesterday and God spoke through his word because we presented ourselves to Him, we simplified back to a old school style of worship, and allowed a vibrant and exciting service breathe life into our souls. Just as a thunderstorm has the potential to destroy or disrupt, on the backend of that we see new energy, and a jolt of life – ever notice how green the grass is after a thunderstorm? I learned a lot yesterday. I learned a lot about where my heart is at. I also have more questions than answers. Do I truly worship? Do I expect God to move? Can the church be more authentic in its approach to corporate worship? What other areas in my life is God wanting to work on? Should we get rid of drums – definitely not, lol. I am thankful for the opportunity to serve, and for the lessons he taught me.
 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.  Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (ESV)Romans 12:1-2