I just tweeted:
I don't buy into the ‘church isn't a building' mantra we hear so much. Church requires corporate gathering. Acts 2 model. Daily in the temple.~www.twitter.com/johneburton
I don’t know if most realize it, but we are very literally at what might be the greatest crisis point in the church in history—certainly in recent history.
Everywhere you look you see pastors promoting short, ‘schedule friendly’, casual commitment style church services. There’s validation of our ridiculously oversaturated American daily agendas via the diminished emphasis in the church of the corporate gathering.
Now, there’s are several reasons why average church attendance in the nation has dropped below two services a month. One of them is the reality that it’s becoming rare to find a place that full of the fire and passion of God.
While we must stay radically faithful and connected at a high level regardless of how vibrant the services are, we must also refuse to settle for anything less than tongues of fire resting on everybody!
THE PURPOSE OF THE CHURCH
It’s unreasonable to presume that there is only one purpose of the church, and there isn’t enough time to dive into all of them. However, we must start at the point where reformation and redefinition is necessary.
Most people, pastors and congregants alike, presume the church is primarily setup to meet needs. You see this play out through church marketing all the time. You hear words and terms like ‘relevance’, ‘come as you are’, ‘world class children’s ministry’, etc.
While we should have world class ministries, the problem is that many pastors and leaders have forsaken their prophetic mantle of challenge and advance for one of salesman. The call must not be to check out our church because of what it offers, but we must have fire coming out of our mouths as we declare the inconvenient word of the Lord!
Simply, the church is not primarily there to simply meet the needs of the people, but rather it is to gather and equip the people (meeting their needs in the process!) AND ensure the people are together, strong, alert and in position night and day so the church can accomplish it’s mission.
Another way to say it is this: The mission of the church isn’t to draw people in and meet their needs, but rather it is to gather people and develop the corporate strength necessary to fulfill the greater mission.
People must not use the church to meet their needs… and stop participating when they are ‘full’. I challenge everybody at Revival Church to arrive at the service full (through personal prayer, study, etc.) and overflowing so we can focus on our corporate mission together.
At most churches, summers, for example, see a huge drop in participation. They will cancel services and special events. This cannot be! We can’t allow our personal schedules to violate the holy call to the corporate gathering. For example, at IHOP in Kansas City, they pray and worship 24/7. They don’t take any breaks. They pray and worship on Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter and every other day of the year. They pray and worship right through the Super Bowl while other churches actually cancel or shorten services in honor of that holy day (lower case ‘h’).
I believe when we start looking at the church as an supernaturally organized army of likeminded, alert, responsive and burning men and women of God, we’ll actually be able to see entire cities taken for the Kingdom!