Are we sleeping in the Church?

I happened to come across a Facebook message this morning saying that Bishop TD Jakes was speaking live at Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church. So I clicked on the link and tuned in.
I do not know what it is, but why can a black preacher get the congregation so fired up? Bishop Jakes was breaking a sweat. People were clapping and whooping and a’ hollering. They were on their feet. They were receiving “downloads” as Bishop Jakes described the blessings that our blessed Father passes down to His children (Ephesians 1:3). I can only imagine how loud it was inside of Lakewood Church. That facility, which used to hold NBA basketball games, was built as a coliseum. A coliseum that was not built to worship God, but to worship modern day idols. It was built as a place to see and be seen. A place to root on the home team. And like in everything, God can make all things good. Here where once stood a place where people were on their feet cheering and clapping for athletes playing ball or singing along to any number of musical artists that paraded through, God was now being glorified. Oh, Praise God!
The people at Lakewood Church this morning were uninhibited. They were not afraid to shout “Amen!” or “Hallelujah!” or “Come On!” and of course, Bishop Jakes’ response to all of these exclamations was “Alright, I know someone is praying with me now!” The Holy Spirit was about to jump out of my skin and I was only watching this unfold via live webcast.
What is wrong with my fellow worshippers? My church had a few “Amens” and “Hallelujahs” last night, but there was most certainly not anyone jumping out of their seats waving their hands in the air clapping praise to the Almighty One as my preacher delivered a wonderful message about following Jesus up close and not from a distance. Ironic? 
I am not just calling some people out or speaking to just some churches, I am also speaking to myself. I was not shouting or jumping up, but believe me, there were definitely moments I wanted to. Why do I…why do the people in my church…feel so inhibited when we hear the Word of God? As we read throughout the Bible, people fell on their face as the name of Jesus was proclaimed. Why are we not falling on our faces?
Is the Church blocking our worship…our response…to God? Are we cultivating a culture of worshipping in private places because we are embarrassed or feel shamed when we shout out an “Amen!” in church?

Is it the Church's fault or are we individually to blame?
Pastors, do you want your congregations to respond to the Word? Does it trip you up when people start clapping, cheering, shouting or does it ignite the Holy Spirit within you to speak more loudly, more clearly, more Spirit-filled?
Church, let’s teach Christians that it is okay to worship God as His Word is spoken. Let us be less inhibited…less uppity….less stuffy, if you will…when we worship Jesus. Are we going to be sitting on our hands, crossing our arms or biting our tongues when we worship together in Heaven? Will we sleep when God is speaking then? Count the minutes until the Great I Am says, "I am wrapping it up"?
If the answer is “No” then why are we doing that now? Let us worship the Living God everyday here and now. Let us ignite the power of the Holy Spirit when we gather.
Let's stop sitting on our hands, crossing our arms, biting our tongues! Proclaim the name of Jesus! Engage Him!
Church, will you let us do that? If so, let your people know that it is okay, that you welcome it just as we welcome all those who come to Him.

Erin Olson

Founder and CEO of Sandalfeet Ministries

1 Comment

Modene Asbury - March 12th, 2013 at 11:30am

Amen! Amen! Amen!