Has Christian ministry lost it’s ability to grasp and transform people? It appears so. Churches are in decline. Our culture is almost completely secular, if not anti-Christian. Scholars have pronounced it to be post-Christian.
However, although it appears that human ministry has exhausted its effectiveness, there is still hope for radical change and a return to Christian roots. That hope is in the ministry of the Spirit. (These ideas are based on a quote by Paul of Tarsus that follows them.)
Human ministry is focused on the letter – words communicated from one human mind to another. However, the letter kills spiritual life. It distracts people from their heart and moves them into a mental focus.
The letter is based on The Ten Commandments, given by God through Moses (and other Scriptures). These God-inspired words came with glory. Moses’ face even glowed when he presented them to his people.
However, there is something even greater than The Ten Commands and the written words of God. That is the ministry of the Spirit — “Christ in you, the hope of glory.”
Why? Written and/or spoken words come from outside a man. They enter his consciousness through the natural processes of vision and/or hearing. However, the ministry of the Spirit is released within a person. It apprehends and changes a person from the inside out. The physical sense of hearing and/or seeing cannot communicate the ministry of the Spirit. It is heard by the ears of the heart and seen by a person’s inner (non-material) eyes. The Bible calls this revelation. It is supernatural.
So why do churches focus so much on the spoken word and so little on direct encounter with the Holy Spirit? The Holy Spirit is beyond human control. We can limit His working (what Paul calls quenching the Spirit) but we cannot control what the Spirit does. While a preacher’s spoken words are very much under his control. Perhaps we quench the Spirit because we want to maintain control or order.
Well controlled religion isn’t working in the 21st Century. Perhaps it’s time we connected with the greater glory and allowed the Spirit to freely work in our midst. What if we allowed the Spirit to control our church services, rather than men? We would see amazing glory.
This is not just theory. It’s Bible. And it is being lived out and demonstrated in Nashville at The Salvation Army Berry Street. Come see. Sundays at 10:45 am, 225 Berry St., Nashville, 37207.
“He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, transitory though it was, will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious? If the ministry that brought condemnation was glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness! For what was glorious has no glory now in comparison with the surpassing glory. And if what was transitory came with glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts.” –Paul of Tarsus in 1 Corinthians 3:6-11