|Jet flying over our house.|
James McDonald is pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel, which has a number of churches in the Chicago area. I'm slow-reading his book Vertical Church: What Every Heart Longs for. What Every Church Can Be. I'm early in the text but am finding myself in a lot of agreement with him. Of paramount importance is: the experiential reality of the presence of God. Here's a sample.
"When did we decide that relevant need-meeting was superior to awesome God-meeting? We have settled for the horizontal and become comfortable leading and attending churches that God does not. Sailing is only delightful when the wind blows, and church without the transcendent leaves us dead in the water. Does your heart hunger for the miraculous in church where God’s power is manifested in measurable ways? May I ask some honest questions? Whether you attend a megachurch, a large church, a medium or small or microchurch— when was the last time God took you to the mat and pinned you with a fresh awareness of His size compared to yours? How have we come to be content with so little of God’s obvious presence? I believe there are reasons why good, dedicated people serving the Lord settle for so much less than what church was created to be. Often it’s because a rational antisupernaturalism is all we have ever known." (MacDonald, Vertical Church, Kindle Locations 505-511)
There are churches that God does not attend? I think so, meaning that there are religious leaders and religious people who do not want God at their meetings, or who by their pride and unbelief choose to "do church" on their own, minus God. Remember what Jesus once said about the Temple leaders: “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to."