Friday, December 15, 2017

Must a Presence-Driven Church Have Marathon Meetings?

Thanks again to any and all who have been responding to these posts I made yesterday. 

Presence-Driven Churches Cannot Have Multiple Stacked Services

A few interpreted what I was saying as a call to have long, extended, marathon services, instead of short services.

That's not what I am saying.

"Length" is irrelevant to the presence-driven church, in the sense that this is not about another method (like the "Church Growth Movement" - see Gary Black, The Theology of Dallas Willard: Discovering Protoevangelical Faith). What is relevant is "led." 

"Led," not "length," is the issue.

This is about a relationship, not a method or formula, between God and us. Real relationships are slow-cookers, not microwaves. Time is needed. So when, e.g., during a Sunday morning gathering, it appears that God is touching one or more persons with his presence, I feel led by the Spirit to allow this to happen. I am thankful I am not in a situation where I have to ask people to leave because the next "service" is going to begin in fifteen minutes.

This temporal space allows people to linger. Everyone doesn't. I release them, giving them permission to leave. We hold no hostages. But we also don't hold the Holy Spirit hostage to pre-set, methodical temporal constraints. (Because visitors won't come back if things go too long? Even if, as best we can tell, God is moving, healing, delivering, encouraging, strengthening, comforting, guiding? Aren't such things what the visitors really need?)

I attempt to spell these things out in my coming book Leading the Presence-Driven Church. (January 2018?)