Store Fronts and Basements
Zechariah 4:6 (NASB) Then he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel saying, ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord of hosts.
We often forget that the Lord builds the house. In the Book of Acts it is said that the Lord added daily to the church such as should be saved. I know how easy it is to forget that no one can build the church except the Lord.
When you look around, read, study, you get the impression that the church is built upon successful programs, powerful people, location, and large financial backing. There are tons of books with success stories that give credit to certain approaches to reaching people.
Now, I am all about doing things with excellence with what you have. I have been in homes with dirt floors that are neat as can be and I have been in homes with beautiful carpets and tile and are a mess. Excellence is a matter of diligence and care, not the amount of money you have. My point is we often leave the Lord out of the equation of kingdom growth. We look to our ability to provide a slick presentation, a smooth worship experience, a glowing message and judge ourselves and others on how well it went. However, the church has grown in caves, catacombs, forests, basements, and even grows when there is no place to meet as happened in the dark days of Communism.
Through the centuries there have been so many miracles of faith and a growing church that it would take a book to point them out. In those times we rely and understand that it is the Lord who builds the church, adding as He works in the hearts. Too much now may depend on man and not enough on the Lord. Having lived through a period of such hunger and ministering in that movement, I met and preached in garages, commanders’ living rooms, judges’ living room, hotel business meeting rooms, outdoor venues, coffee houses, basements, and store fronts. God showed up. People were added to the kingdom. People were hungry for God. All of those places would be regarded as inferior meeting places and you cannot build that way. Oops, someone forgot to tell God.
I have allowed and encouraged anyone who felt we needed to do things to make the church building pleasing for this culture. We have painted, changed things, built, purchased equipment, invested in sound and video, and made the building as pleasing as can be. It is a fairly modern, clean, friendly atmosphere. Yet, there is no rush to come to the church, in fact, most of the people who wanted and made the changes have left. (Go figure)
So, maybe, we have been missing the key ingredient, “The Spirit of God.” Not by might, nor by power, BUT by my Spirit says the Lord.” While we will do our best, continue with excellence, in the end, it is not us; it is God. -P. Bill