Many passionate believers have abandoned some of the traditional formats and structures for doing church. Not because they wish to be disorganized or disorderly, rebellious or “cutting edge,” but, because they have grown weary of the predictability of today’s church. A church that can be so program-driven to meet the needs of people that it forgets that a person’s greatest need is to meet God…repeatedly!
While many Americans seem quite satisfied with weekend church as usual, a brief one-hour respite in their altogether hectic week, not so for everyone. Rather than continue to simply go through the motions of linear, pre-planned regimen church, with thirty minutes of this and twenty minutes of that, when we gather for worship in our larger celebrations we prefer to give the Holy Spirit room to move and craft His direction and His message for each gathering, no matter how long that takes, or how many turns in the road.
Our core gatherings continue to be smaller groupings of believers around a meal, where the potential priesthood of the believers is best expressed and connecting with true community happens.
But we also delight in the larger times of worship and celebration. The purpose behind these worship gatherings is to attract God through cultivating an atmosphere of long and intensive prophetic worship focused on Him, His majesty and His beauty. Because of this extravagant, unrushed worship, each gathering takes on a different form and flavor as to how He is leading us in the moment.
Expressing His Worship
At any of these worship celebrations, you may see people actively worshiping by raising hands; bowing or laying prostrate on the floor; dancing in place or around the sanctuary; painting; waving banners; shouting; even blowing whistles or shofars. The celebration can be both party-like and deeply intimate. You may hear prayers; prophetic words; songs; words of instruction; encouragement; exhortation; even poetry, all in keeping with I Corinthians 14:25-26.
A fully participating, fully activated, virtual church, where everyone, not just the paid professionals, brings something edifying or upbuilding to the meeting. And, before the gathering time is over (whenever that is?!), the Holy Spirit always gives direction and freedom to minister healing, deliverance, impartation and empowerment.
When God Shows Up
When God is present among His people and He touches human flesh, there can be reactions, these have historically been called, “manifestations” or “affections.” These can involve joyous laughing; crying in repentance; spontaneous healing; physical deliverance; bodily movements of personal freedom or lying on the floor soaking in the presence of God. Don’t be alarmed or offended…it’s biblical, Acts 2 and often means that God is doing a deep work.
While we don’t focus on these manifestations, they can be important signs pointing to fruit that the Lord is producing more love for Him and His people.
Getting Into the Flow
If you are a guest or relatively unfamiliar with a Third Day Churches, you may find yourself wondering what is going on during any particular meeting. The concept is really quite simple. We are in the third millennium, to God, a day is as a thousand years and a thousand years as a day, II Peter 3:8; Psalm 90:4.
The First Day represents, at least for us, some of the old ways of doing church, so during our Second Day pilgrimage we desire to let some of those ineffective old ways die. Particularly, when we see that some of these old ways are no longer viable expressions of God’s current leading.
So we are constantly making room in our gatherings for the experimentation of something newer, something fresher, and something more in keeping with what the Father is showing us in this Third Day.
And it is okay that these new ways require some getting used to, some adaptations of old and new worship styles, and a great deal of stretching past our comfort zones. Tracking with the God of the unpredictable is often very uncomfortable to those of us from the more traditional backgrounds.
While most believers gatherings are highly structured, both thematically and structurally, we believe biblical evidence shows that the New Testament church was much more organic and free-flowing, and more often than not, led by apostolic/prophetic teams in a given geographical region as opposed to the westernized political clergy system of exclusion and control.
The Importance of Being in His Presence
The pollsters now say that among people who regularly attend worship services at Christian churches, 50% have not experienced God’s presence in their lives at anytime in the past 12 months and maybe as many as 1/3 say they have never experienced His presence.
This is why we put a such a premium on spending time in waiting on Our Heavenly Father in each of these larger meetings. We are constantly looking for Him, seeking His face, and forever lingering in that place that welcomes His presence. Paying the price of remaining unencumbered by time constraints and preplanned structures is worth it.
We are learning to wait on Him in ways that really seem to attract and please Him.