Holy Spirit surfing is a fresh, creative way of doing church — an innovative style of churching. However, it’s not new — it was written about in the New Testament (see 1 Corinthians 14:26) and was the common practice of the First Century church.
Holy Spirit surfing is to glide with the Guide inside. It is to go with the Spirit’s inner flow rather than following a structured program.
However, Holy Spirit surfing was gradually lost and mostly forgotten over the first two or three centuries of Christianity. It morphed into a rigid and controlled order of worship called liturgy.
Eventually some denominations even began to boast of being liturgical churches (high church) and some claimed to be non-liturgical (low church). However, even the so-called non-liturgical churches followed a man-made program, and although it was less formal and less complicated than the liturgical churches, it was still quite rigid.
The standard Protestant program generally consists of a call to worship, a prayer, two or three songs, taking an offering, a Scripture reading, a sermon, a closing song/altar call, and a benediction. (Some denominations throw in a responsive reading and/or a musical performance by a choir or individual. And some contemporary churches have innovated a bit by stretching out the songs to a much longer and expressive period of praise and worship.)
However, during the past few years some people have been discovering and experiencing a fresh wave of doing church. This rediscovery of Spirit surfing has been called organic church.
Holy Spirit surfing involves setting aside the agenda, putting down the program, and allowing the Spirit, Himself, to direct the church meeting by prompting whoever He wishes to share a testimony, a song, a word of encouragement, a prayer, a Scripture, a gift of the Spirit, a brief teaching, a prayer request, etc.
The amazing thing about Holy Spirit surfing is that what first appears to be random soon comes together in a beautiful tapestry of a refreshing demonstration of God’s presence and power. It becomes apparent to everyone present that the living God, Himself, is actually directing the meeting through various individuals.
Here’s a quotation from Samuel Logan Brengle, an early leader of The Salvatiion Army, about Spirit surfing: “When the Holy Spirit comes, He takes possession of those bodies that are freely and fully presented to Him, and He touches their lips with grace; He shines peacefully and gloriously on their faces; He flashes beams of pity and compassion and heavenly affection from their eyes; He kindles a fire of love in their hearts, and lights the flame of truth in their minds.”
The wave of Spirit surfing is just beginning to roll through 21st Century Christianity. Will you catch it?
If you would like to see Spirit surfing in action, come visit The Salvation Army Berry Street in Nashville on Sunday mornings at 10:45 — 225 Berry St., 37207.