"You cannot know for sure where the Holy Spirit is going to act and bring renewal. You really can't. The Spirit, still, like the wind, blows where He wishes. And without issuing a weather forecast! Only one sign appears often enough to betray His intentions...the period immediately before some fresh outpouring of the Spirit seems to be marked by a burden for prayer in the hearts of a least a small core of Christians in an area. I have been impressed recently, in different parts of the country, to find groups meeting in just this sort of way. Expectantly, open to God for whatever He may have for them, for their town, for their congregations. I wonder sometimes where this may not prove to be the most significant of all the facts in the scene we have been surveying?"
—Poulton, John. A Today Sort of Evangelism. London: Lutterworth Press, 1972., as quoted by Gunstone, John. Greater Things Than These: A Personal Account of the Charismatic Movement. Leighton Buzzard: Faith Press, 1973., p. 77
One of the most common experiences for many of us as Christ-followers is the longing for more close and connected relationships with other Christ-followers in our community. We wish there could be a deeper sharing of the things of God. Not that we would abandon our own communities of faith. But wouldn't it be great if there were opportunities for seeking God's will more intimately, for personal praying, for telling and hearing the joys and struggles of walking by faith.
We want to be together more.
I am finding myself more and more longing to be with my like-minded brothers and sisters in Christ in our community. Too often we have accepted the necessary but somewhat artificial connection strategy of getting people into small groups within our individual local churches. I wonder what would happen if Christ-followers, regardless of their local church affiations, began to join together with like-minded Christ-follower who are already present in their neighborhoods and workplaces for the purpose of praying together, open to whatever God may have for them; be the functional body of Christ in that location.
"All together in one place"—it is striking the way the New Testament refers so often to the way the Body of Christ is supposed to function: Accepting one another, serving one another, praying for one another, forgiving one another, bear one another's burdens, love one another...
Sergeant Randy McFarland of the Fishers Police Department decided to take personal responsibility for his workplace, to be a catayst in the lives of other Christ-followers in the department. Representing several local congregations, officers began to meet for encouragment, study of God's Word, prayer for one another, the entire police department, and their community. Today four groups of officers meet and the number of officers attending is growing. The presence of the unified body of Christ within the Department is having a transforming effect on our entire town.
Kevin & Elizabeth Sliwa lead a small group of Christ-followers in their home. Orginally, their small group consisted only of those who came together through their local church congregation, but they began to sense an increasing sense of "holy discontent" about the spiritual condition of their neighbors. They group began to pray for the neighborhood. They began walking in the neigborhood, praying for the families who lived there. Eventually they had the idea that on the first Tuesday night of each month they would invite their neighbors for dinner and discussion about spiritual concerns. This is the third month they have done this and the impact is growing. There were about 30 adults from the neighborhood this past Tuesday who were asking spiritual questions about God, Christ, suffering in our world...it was incredible! Who knows where this will end up?
In both these cases, the work of God through His functioning body began with a season of a small core of people beginning coming together to pray, open to whatever God would have for them.
It's not complicated. When a group of Christ-followers, regardless of their denominational traditions, set their minor differences aside, and take on an attitude of loving co-responsibility for one another and the people in their sphere of influence, amazing things can happen. Read another great story here.
This is a move of God that is happening across our world right now and I want to be a part of it. Instead of saying, "What would Jesus do?", we realize that the risen Jesus is actively working in our world right now. Our prayer is be, "Jesus, What are you doing?" and then boldly join in, knowing his power and presence go with us.