Thursday, January 7, 2016

Exactly what is IT?

Some months ago, a few men from our congregation, myself included, would arrive at church shortly before ten o’clock and gather in a small group around one of the tables just outside of the kitchen area in the basement. That period of time from ten until eleven was normally dedicated to Sunday school. The class we had been attending no longer existed and we really didn’t care to attend any of the other classes that were being taught. Our numbers ranged somewhere between three and six people. It became a regular meeting, one that I came to look forward to.

One morning the Pastor’s wife discovered us sitting there drinking coffee and talking. She wondered why we were not attending a class and someone offered a half-baked answer that was intended to be humorous and she left with a puzzled look on her face. I had asked in passing one day if one of the men was going to be able to attend “The Breakfast Club” next week and the name stuck.

Someone said that if the Pastor’s wife didn’t approve of what we were doing it wouldn’t be long before something would be done in an official way to stop us from doing it. I didn’t want to believe that such a thing could happen, but really I knew he was right. That event had the affect of causing our numbers to decline to the point that I was often left sitting there by myself, nursing a cup of coffee, reading my Bible and quietly talking to God and asking Him to lead me to the class I should be attending. It wasn’t long before the adult class that meets in the main sanctuary began a new class that would be taught by one of our Pastoral Staff members. The subject matter was “The History of the Pentecostal Church.”  It would run for thirteen weeks I was told. I didn’t care for the teaching style of the person who was heading up the class, so I stuck with my habit for a few weeks.

I don’t believe that a Sunday school class should be preached. We already get enough preaching. I preferred a class where the members were allowed some participation and input. I liked it when people were allowed to ask questions or speak up when the Spirit moved on them. With several hundred people in a class in an area as large as the main sanctuary, there’s not much opportunity for any of that to take place without a concerted effort on the part of the teacher.

Later on I was informed that such an effort was being undertaken in this new class and as time passed, the class was growing as word of mouth spread the news. It appears that I’m not the only one who looked at Sunday school this way. I decided that I would check it out and see for myself. I was “hooked” after the first visit. I was greatly encouraged by what I witnessed. Not only was the subject matter being addressed of interest to many of us, but the fact that a microphone was made available and being passed around as someone made it known that they had something to contribute was exactly what was needed. The teacher had prepared so well for every class. There was usually some kind of video clip relative to the time period being discussed. It was entertaining and informative and generated lots of discussion. The most impressive thing about it was the way the Holy Spirit got involved practically every week at some point. There was something in the air...I wasn’t the only one who noticed it.

Revival in the church is not something that WE can schedule and control. I believe only God knows when we meet the criteria, if there is such a thing as criteria.  Said another way; “Revival will happen in God’s time when the hearts of His people are rightly prepared for it.”

Something important is happening within our congregation. You know it when people start calling one another and talking about the last service and how wonderful it was and if you happened not to be present that night they are quick to point out that “You really missed it!” That statement has been made to me so often I have arrived at this conclusion; if I am not attending a service it is ALWAYS a spiritual barn-burner. Such a revelation will dampen anyone’s spirit. I don’t believe that is really the case so I have learned to take such statements with a grain of salt. I'm not saying those people are stating an untruth but it could be more like they are handling the truth a bit reckless.

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