Why gather once a month on Friday evenings (at 7:00) to spend extended time in corporate worship, in earnestly seeking God’s face, in hearing the word of God, and in ministry to each other? Last August the pastoral staff sought the Lord earnestly about our life together this fall. This is one of the things we believe God led us to plan. Chuck is eager to lead us in worship. I am eager to minister the Word. And we are all eager to meet with you and minister to each other in the power of God’s Spirit. Why? Ten reasons (for starters):
- Revival has already come for some. I hear testimonies of the work of God among us. God is more real and more precious and more powerful in some people’s lives right now than he ever has been. One of the marks of an awakened church is that there are meetings for worship and word and prayer and ministry. In other words, these times are not just to seek revival, but because for some it is here and longs for expression.
- For many there is a tremendous hunger that we see the beauty and supremacy of God more clearly, and that we experience more of his manifest presence and power in our lives, and in the life of our church and our city and among the nations. There are many who look in the mirror and at the church and the city and the world and groan at the sin and weakness and timidity of the church and the lostness of the world. There are some who cannot just go on with business as usual. They say, “Let’s meet and stand before the Lord and proclaim his triumph and seek an outpouring of his Spirit for great awakening.”
- For some of us, 30 minutes a week on Sunday morning simply does not seem like enough time for a church to sing its Redeemer’s worth, if we are in love with God and stunned by the truth that—in spite of all our sins—we are justified forever by faith alone.
- Our Sunday morning worship is restricted by schedule. But it is good to come before God in times less confined and more flexible to his immediate leading. There is a place in the corporate life of the church for “tarrying” before the Lord (Luke 24:49; Psalm 40:1).
- Our large Sunday morning assembly can give little time or place for the kinds of ministry to each other that is implied in 1 Corinthians 1:7: “Each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.” Small groups are crucial for this “one-another ministry,” but they are not the only place we need to minister to each other. We need to grow in our ability to minister to each other in prayer and in the application of spiritual gifts so that these weave their way into our small groups and into all our other times of togetherness in natural and fitting ways. In other words, these Fridays can be a garden for growing loving, liberated ministers for our small groups.
- We need to have our lives woven together more and more. We are a large church. We will not know everyone. But the tapestry of our experience needs to be enriched by the threads of others’ lives. Who knows what God has in store for you through the gift and prayer of someone you do not even know? That person may carry in his or her hand a jewel of grace with your name on it.
- Who of you does not have a heartache in your life that you would like to see God change? Do we not need to lay hold on God for the conversion of some husbands, wives, parents, children, neighbors? Do we not struggle with bad habits that seem impossible to shake? Are there not marriages we want to preserve? Might not God have a blessing ready and designed to come through this form of united prayer?
- Do we not need to hear the Word of God spoken in the power of the Holy Spirit more than once a week? There is no biblical word on how often. But historically, where the Sprit is moving, people hunger for more, not less, of the Word of God preached.
- One of the key values mentioned in our Mission Statement is “making prayer the visible engine of all our efforts in ministry and worship.” For many of us, this kind of monthly service is one such engine.
- Who of us does not need to see God more clearly and love him more dearly and follow him more nearly?
In short: because we want to spread a passion for the supremacy of God in all things for the joy of all peoples.
I hope to see you there,