As a young pastor-in-training my ears strained to listen to leaders who seemed to shepherd the church with wisdom. My pastor, Roy Hicks Jr., who pastored Faith Center in Eugene, Oregon, and who is now with the Lord, said something to a group of us about thirty years ago that I will never forget. Someone asked what Roy used to determine if a meeting of the church was successful and Roy fired off the words, "Word, Worship and Witness." I will never forget those words. They became the desired benchmark of the last thirty years of my ministry. When those three ingredients were in place our meetings always carried the weight of heaven.
The Word is obviously the written Word of God without a doubt. All that we do must be strained through the logos Word of God to make sure we are in line with truth. There is another word and that is the rhema Word of God. These are the words spoken by the Word of God Himself that may come in forms other than a leather-bound bible. These rhema words work hand in hand with God's written Word. They enhance each other. To have a gathering of the Church and not have God speaking to us is foreign not only to the history of the church but to the very nature of God. He loves to speak to His kids.
Worship is our highest calling. Our lives, our words, our ministries,everything, is to be an act of worship. In the church worship is usually that time of ministry with the worship team, music and song. When Roy mentioned worship he never intended us to understand this to mean something we don't participate it. Worship should draw us out and make us feel vulnerable. Worship is never to be a performance that I watch from my chair. Worship can only be done by people who know the One they are worshipping. If our worship is not allowing the release of God's Spirit to bring His gifts and fruit into our midst we are missing one of the greatest joys in life.
The Witness of God's Spirit is where it is easy to let things slide. The gathering of the Church is just that – the Church assembled. I never did understand the contemporary definition of a church gathering that focused on non-believers needs primarily. That was something I always thought the church did in the streets. The church gathering was the place where we came to get healed up and equipped to go out into our communities and see the work of God in power and demonstration. The gathering of believers is a time when the Church needs to experience the witness of God's Spirit so that when they do venture out into the streets they can actually live like the people who are recorded in the Book of Acts.
The Word, Worship and the Witness of God's Spirit will redefine what we do when we gather and it will give us the goods we need to minister once we leave the church building.