Yesterday, the Church all around the world gathered to celebrate Pentecost Sunday. Pentecost was the day when the Spirit came in a sudden and unexpected demonstration of power. I try to examine what takes place after such events. I am not sure God wants us to think those powerful demonstrations had a single, isolated historic purpose. They happen because they are needed from time to time to correct our assumptions and shake up the status quo. This enables God to accomplish something through us not possible until a move of the Spirit pushes us off our spiritual lounge chair.
Immediately after the Day of Pentecost, we are told all the believers “devoted themselves to the apostle’s teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer.” Chapter 2 ends by describing the deep sense of awe the early disciples were sensing as they saw the apostles perform signs, wonders, and miracles. They were sharing everything they owned, helped those in need and worshipped together each day. In that context of shared community, the Lord continued to add to their number daily. What we see happening after the miracles on the Day of Pentecost was the emergence of a structure that resembled a community of faith.
Each generation needs a personal Pentecost in order to move forward. As a result of that experience, God invites to a process of restructuring. This is not a negative and controlling form of restructuring, but a minimal life-releasing structure like the one seen in Acts 2 that allows our plans to be interrupted and our current level of expectation to be challenged.
Creating a structure for ministry before a demonstration of God’s power will always weaken the resulting expressions of the Church and diminish the effectiveness of our mission. As a result, following generations – the offspring of our current level of faith - will themselves create structures and systems that will not make room for the very thing needed to create healthy models of ministry and bring about the fulfillment of the Great Commission in their day.
Today, don't search for a new model of ministry or a new structure before the Spirit comes. These premature manifestations will drain your strength and limit your Kingdom impact. Instead, pray a very dangerous prayer - dangerous to tired and lifeless expressions of faith. Pray, "Come, Holy Spirit, come!" What God brings in response to that prayer will contain the very encounter you will need to structure a community of faith that will literally change the world.