Thursday, July 06, 2017

Presence-Driven Churches Won't Have an "Order of Service"

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A Presence-Driven Church won't have a "program."

Some churches have "bulletins." In the bulletin there is a program, or order of service. This indicates how the program will go.

As I approach Sunday morning I have a basic structure in mind, which looks like this at Redeemer.

Opening Song
Pray for Kids
Ministry time

I add, "Whatever God wants to do." This is where things get different. The Holy Spirit is directing things, and the Holy Spirit cannot be boxed in by a preconceived order of service. It is up to us to discern where God is taking us. For example, times of ministering to one another break in at any time. This is all about discernment.

The idea of a "program," wrote A.W. Tozer, came from the theater. You would go to the show and get a program. The program said something like,

Act I
Act II

There might be notes of what to expect, like explanations of scenes in the play. Everyone knows how long the play will last. It's all timed and scripted.

None of this applies to the Holy Spirit. The movements of the Spirit are essentially unpredictable and nonprogrammable. We can have a preconceived format (like beginning the gathering by welcoming people), but God cannot be formatted.

The introduction of the order of service formalized Church as a show, with a largely passive audience watching a few religious leaders do their thing in a darkened room, with a lighted stage.

The show usurped the Holy Spirit's showing up. This is the worst possible thing that could happen.

Presence-Driven Churches won't have a "order of service," because the Holy Spirit cannot be ordered and shoved into a preconceived box.

My two books are:

Leading the Presence-Driven Church (August/Sept 2017)