It looked like a concert, but it wasn’t. Several thousand people (mostly under 30) gathered last night at the Curb Event Center at Belmont University in Nashville to worship with the band, Jesus Culture.
With the energy of a rock concert, the crowd passionately expressed unrelenting praise and worship to Jesus; standing, waving, dancing, swaying, singing, and shouting for more than two hours. The presence of the Holy Spirit was almost tangible. Across the arena faces were glowing with the ecstasy of His light.
The songs were not just sung about Jesus — they were sung directly to Him (like He was in the room — which He was). It was free-flowing and spontaneous, beyond the realm of human agenda and control.
However, after about two hours, there was a shift. People were told to sit down (which they did, suddenly shifting from an active role to a passive one) while someone talked for quite a while.
At that point there was a very noticeable change in the atmosphere. There was a visible shift in the meeting from God’s leadership to human leadership and the sense of God’s Presence began to fade. Spontaneity shut down. The energy level fell drastically. I saw many people yawn.
Eventually they shifted back to a God focus, but it seemed like the Presence of God never got back to the same level as it was before the talk.
The first two hours of the gathering amazingly demonstrated, beyond words, how the real Presence of God can come in and control a meeting. Perhaps the talk was an unnecessary diversion of attention away from actively experiencing Christ to theorizing about Him.
It is not information that transforms people, but the Presence and control of the living Christ. We know plenty of information about Christ and the Bible, yet we often lack His ongoing, transforming Presence. We know how to experience Jesus occasionally, but perhaps we don’t know how to live in His Presence, overcome with awe of Him 24/7.
Can Christian gatherings “work” without a talk or sermon? Yes! Christ, Himself, will teach, not through one human directing a meeting, but through many people openly and freely sharing what God tells them to. (See I Corinthians 14:26). We just need to give Christ a chance to be the one in charge.
Every Sunday morning in Nashville a group of believers gather with the desire to let Jesus run things with as little human agenda and human control as possible. The results? Jesus shows up. Come and see for yourself what Christ can do when allowed the freedom to run a meeting — gathering at The Salvation Army Berry Street, 225 Berry St., Nashville, 37207.