Are you part of a NEW WINE ARMY that is DONE with church as usual?
I wrote this several years ago as a traveling preacher. My viewpoint has not changed now that I have planted a new church in Branson, Missouri:
I know I carry a critical message in this end time season. There is a desperate need for awakening and activation, and I desire to be a part of that.However, I have no desire to leave my family and travel to various churches if those churches aren’t ready for the deposit I’m called to leave.
I’m done with nice Sunday services where the people resist the depths, are reluctant to contend and are more interested in getting out on time. I’m done.Pastors, train your people to groan in the Spirit. Turn Sundays into prayer meetings. Blaze the trail toward revival.A quick, one hour sermon just won’t cut it. A little worship and a nice prayer is laughable. Cultivate services where people never want to leave! Where are the revivalists? The intercessors?Church as usual is over and I have no desire to come to your church to preach if you are still trying to build an old wine skin.
Where is my tribe? Where are the burning ones? I’m ready to find those pillars of revival fire and contend together for an outpouring.
Church as usual is coming to an end—and prophetic churches must emerge to fill the void.
Among them are people who are bellowing out that they are “DONE with church as usual,” but, for some strange reason, refuse to shift into the new.
The firebrands are few who are truly willing to break out of the old wine skin and enlist as soldiers who are absolutely reliant on the new wine of the Holy Spirit. This is a rare breed, indeed.
“As soon as Solomon finished his prayer, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the Lord filled the temple. And the priests could not enter the house of the Lord, because the glory of the Lord filled the Lord’s house. When all the people of Israel saw the fire come down and the glory of the Lord on the temple, they bowed down with their faces to the ground on the pavement and worshiped and gave thanks to the Lord, saying, “For he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.”” (2 Chronicles 7:1–3, ESV)
An Old Testament experience with the power of God should cause all of us New Covenant Believers to be troubled. Why isn’t God moving like that in our church?
The supernatural activity of the Holy Spirit today should absolutely blow away the encounters prior to the cross and resurrection of Christ and the Acts 2 awakening. Yet, here we are, struggling to break out of typical, familiar, comfortable and tired church life.
For decades, I’ve been looking for pavement people. Hungry, desperate Christians who are no longer looking for personal comfort in their church experience, but rather are ready to pay whatever price is necessary to see God manifest in overwhelming power.
To them, church as usual is dead. The old wineskin will no longer suffice. It can’t. The new wine they are yearning for demands an entire new model and they refuse to live another day bound up in the old.
Pavement people, as we saw in 2 Chronicles 7, weren’t interested in anything but the glory of God. God’s glory filled the house so powerfully that nobody could enter. That didn’t stop these fiery zealots. They hit the pavement and declared the goodness of God.
Literally nothing else mattered. They didn’t demand a certain order of service. They couldn’t care less about comfortable seats. They weren’t looking for friends or position or promotion. Air conditioning, greeters, programs, child care, predictable services and most everything else does not matter to these end-time, new wine warriors.
They want God.
A NEW WINE CHURCH EXPERIENCE
Pavement people have no patience for church experiences that aren’t fueled by deep, continual intercession. The glory of God has no comparison. The pursuit of wide-spread revival is the goal that causes them to burn white hot. Their devotion results in many sleepless nights as they weep over their city and cry out for the Holy Spirit to move.
When intercession and glory become the driving pursuits of people craving the wildfire of the Spirit of God, very little else becomes necessary in the church experience. In fact, they are so sensitive to the mission that they refuse to embrace anything that threatens the primary purposes of the new wine church.
As an example, at Revival X in Branson, Missouri, we are intentionally staying laser focused. This means we currently have no need to implement many things that are expected in old wine skin churches.
Live worship, children’s ministry, youth ministry, small groups, etc. aren’t currently important in the church plant. What is? Prayer. Intercession. Glory. Fire. Equipping. Deliverance.
Will we implement some of this in time? Possibly. Probably. Eventually. It must be done with great care so as not to distract from the primary purpose of the church. Additions will only come as they reinforce, support and give strength to intercession and revival.
The call is for all to pray as wild men and women, consumed with the fire of the Holy Spirit, allowing dreams, visions and a strong prophetic spirit to emerge. We must be trained in the fire, by the Fire, the Holy Spirit.
If you are “done with church as usual,” then get risky. Get out of the boat. Quit expecting “needs” of old to be met. Break out of old patterns and systems.
Don’t expect the new wine church to look anything like the old. The programs and purposes are going to shift dramatically. You will have to go deep in the Spirit, deep in intercession and develop a radically consecrated, holy, on-fire life of surrender. Literally nothing else will matter in comparison with your pursuit of God and revival.
A key reason pastors don’t steer their churches in this direction of Spirit-driven, prayer-fueled, revival-focused and risky ministry is they know few will respond positively.
What would happen if your pastor suddenly cancelled everything they do except for prayer and equipping?
What if they eliminated live worship and let the worship team get renewed in prayer for a year?
What would you do if there was no longer children’s ministry or youth ministry?
What about eliminating programs and ministries that you feel are extremely important?
How would you handle the shift? Would you take on your call to pray without ceasing? Would you go deep? Would you become the revivalist you were born to be?
Or would you complain, gossip, get frustrated, question leadership and look for a new, comfortable, old wine skin church?
I pray you’d accept nothing but the new wine. You’d be part of a very rare, special, end-time, remnant army that the world is waiting for.