I was just reading last night Francis Chan’s book Forgotten God. At one point he comments on the ease of doing church in our own strength to draw a crowd as opposed to a truly Spirit-filled gathering of believers. He questions how many of our churches are actually like the prophets of Baal in 1 Kings 18 instead of like Elijah, a prophet of the true God? Here’s what he says:
Sometimes I leave Christian events wondering if we resemble the prophets of Baal in 1 Kings 18 more than Elijah, the prophet of God. If you’ve forgotten the story, it may be good to stop here and read that chapter, or else the rest of what I write in this section will make very little sense to you. The prophets of Baal had a loud, passionate worship gathering that lasted from morning till evening. When they were done, they had a great time of fellowship (I think you can call it that). But “no one answered; no one paid attention.” (18:29). After all of that, Elijah prayed. God heard his prayer, and fire came down from heaven.
My favorite part of that story comes when it is all over and the prophets of Baal are saying, “The LORD—he is God! The LORD—he is God!” (18:39 NIV). They didn’t say, “Elijah is a great speaker” or “Elijah sure knows how to connect with God!” They were stunned by God. They were in awe of His power. They knew that what they experienced could not have been manipulated by Elijah. They experienced the power of God.
Is that what happens at the Christian gatherings you attend? Or does it feel more like what the prophets of Baal experienced before Elijah prayed? We can have a great time singing and dancing ourselves into a frenzy. But at the end of it, fire doesn’t come down from heaven. People leave talking about the people who led rather than the power of God.
Francis Chan, Forgotten God, Chapter 7 “Supernatural Church”
What do you think? Is the way our churches work basically a Jesus-themed concert of excitability, caused all by human energy, or a demonstration of the Spirit and of power? Do you have a concert or worship, a speech or a prophecy?