As we progress toward the 24/7 church, revival is brining calibration to the biblical model in Detroit.
I’ve written books and articles and taught countless messages on the emerging 24/7 church that’s coming to this nation. I was convinced that it would take a revival atmosphere to finally draw people together every night—into the 24/7 model—simply because they would then be convinced that there was literally no better place to be or no more important thing to do than encounter God with others.
A PROPOSAL: THE FLEX CHURCH STRUCTURE
Local churches have the unique position of either being a great threat to a regional outpouring, or a great strength. The demands of the regional, corporate gathering are increasing in intensity, and any competing activity (within the church or outside of it) will put the greater city mission at risk.
For example, the need for laborers at The Fireplace is growing. We need people in position—intercessors, pastors, ushers, cleaning crews, musicians, techs, etc. If local churches don’t release their people to participate, then this outpouring is at risk.
Another example of what I’m trying to communicate occurred shortly after I moved to Detroit. Long story short, I was asked to be the keynote speaker at The Palace (where the Detroit Pistons play) where an all-city church outreach was planned. Sadly, churches refused to cancel their own local Wednesday night services so their people could support the event. So, it was cancelled. Do you see what I mean?
Here’s the FLEX CHURCH STRUCTURE proposal: Have a primary local church service that trumps most everything else. Meet on Sunday mornings, for example, and have a high bar of expectancy that your congregation will gather together. Also, have vision-driven, prayer-fueled meetings at other times of the week (Bible studies, youth meetings, small groups, etc.). However, they must be ready to flex—to give way to the demands of the greater regional focus. If a regional call is sounded, pastors will lead their congregations to that event.
Additionally, we as leaders must have open hands and release the people under our care into other churches and ministries. The regular schedule may include Sunday morning at your church, Sunday evening at a house of prayer, Monday evening at a church well known for it’s strengths in teaching, Tuesday evening in a Bible study at another ministry, etc. through the rest of the week. The 24/7 church will be 1.) regionally focused and 2.) include participation with multiple ministries and churches each week.
So, if there’s a Bible study on a Tuesday night, but a fire is lit in another part of the city, then cancel the Bible study and lead the people to the fire. If there’s a youth meeting on a Friday night, cancel that and head to the regional event that God is uniquely moving in.
Check out what Pastor Joe Sazyc wrote this morning:
Something hit me last night after the service… I could do this til Jesus comes! Yes, I the guy who didn't want nightly meetings in the beginning!
There is a hunger in this city! Word is spreading.
What if someone needs God on a Monday night? Do they need to wait for Sunday to have a touch of glory? And what if the glory doesn't “fall” that Sunday or NEVER falls in their church? I am being haunted by Brian's phrase a while back… “God doesn't just want you to have a house of prayer here, he wants you to have a house of GLORY!” All this is reminding me of a passion I have had for years, but all my busyness has stifled in recent months. I have always believed church should be 24/7! Even long before I knew about 24/7 prayer and before IHOP or anything like that existed! I've got to believe a major metro area like Detroit (especially one being marked by God for Awakening) can certainly sustain at least nightly meetings if not 24/7.
All that to say, I'm so hungry for this, I'm tempted to keep this thing going after the 21 days, even if no one were to go with me. It may not look exactly like what we have now, but SOMETHING that invites God's GLORY needs to continue nightly. The Fireplace cannot go out! I KNOW I cannot do it on my own, so I pray our team stays intact and even grows. I pray we begin to see an influx of crazy people who will staff this thing as musicians, ushers, tech people, etc… I think we need to AGGRESSIVELY pray for laborers (Matt. 9) and resources. What's encouraging is that I believe GOD wants this. We won't be bending a reluctant arm!