This month I have been writing about “amazing moments in church.”
My motivation for this topic and theme was simply that there are a lot of things that happen in church that have often placed me in total wonder and amazement. In my first column I shared about an individual who stood up and all alone to praise God during the singing of How Great Thou Art.
Last week I wrote about an elderly lady who defied all the odds of tradition by being so welcoming and genuine in conversation.
This column is about a Wednesday night church service that had all the odds stacked against it.
As a pastor and minister I have well planned in my mind how a service should go. When praying and writing a message my system is a three part plan.
First because of prayer and the leadership of the Holy Spirit there is a theme, a topic, a conversation or a need that normally is on my mind because of conversation with God.
My second step is to write down all the scriptures from research and the thoughts as I am preparing.
The final step is to pull these first two steps together in a presentation form that is logical, practical for application and in line with the leadership of the Holy Spirit. Now this may seem like an easy process but take my word, this takes real time.
I have heard church members share that they think the preacher just opens up the Bible, spends a minute in prayer and then begins to preach, just know this is not true.
It may be hard to imagine that a single sermon might require spending 15-20 hours in preparation but that is often my personal requirement of time.
On this particular Wednesday night I had planned on an invitation. As you might thing, traditional mindset requires in most of our churches that in order for an invitation to be given, the congregation must sing a song so individuals wanting to make a public decision can walk forward, shake the preacher’s hand, and share their decision with him and then possibly publically. In planning for an invitation there are a few other details that are required that most church members might not consider unless they are responsible for planning or leading the music.
Requirements are that first you will need at least one instrumentalist. Someone to play the piano or an instrument, you will need a song leader or a minister of music to lead the congregation in singing.
This leader is also responsible for directing the instrumentalist. I am very certain that most church members don’t even consider the relationship of communication and understanding required between those two individuals but effective leadership of the Holy Spirit requires those two individuals to also be “in tune” with Him too.
Going into this Wednesday service, there was no musician, no song leader, and leading up to the service all kinds of distractions but I knew the message I should preach and I did. My issue was that I had set in my mind that fact to just preach and no invitation, but the Holy Spirit continual pressed, to extend an invitation and I did.
I simply said, this is out of the ordinary. We have no music, but if you want to ask Jesus to come into your heart, from where you are standing, just say, “that’s me preacher.”
And from the back of the church, in a loud voice can those very words.
It is amazing what happens when we following His leadership and just imagine all the “amazing moments in church” we could have if we did that all the time.