A lot of pastors talk a lot about community. We hear about it. We talk about it. We talk more about it but we miss one very important truth: it is communion, not community that drives the supernatural in our midst. The Bride of Christ is not your local YMCA or 4-H group.
I understand why pastors want to talk about it, I do. It is to their benefit to make sure people are connected. The more people who connect to your vision, the larger the offerings. Pastors seeing community as a way to live a better quality of life for themselves. Yes, pastors are just as selfish as everyone else.
In my study of history of Christianity, I have never found a revival that broke out by having lattes at Starbucks together and “doing life together.” The closest example would be the Moravians in the 1720’s. However, a closer look shows is much less about fellowship and just a group of people having similar but personal touches of the Holy Spirit.
A look at Pentecostal history tells that we have never seen a revival come from community. Azusa Street did not have it. Foursquare and Apostolic Faith didn’t either. The Latter Rain revival and the Voice of Healing did not see it, either. The same testimony would be true for Charismatic renewal and more recently the Toronto Blessing and Brownsville Revival. It has no bearing on revival whatsoever.
Not once did people gather to open the bible sipping on their lattes from Parena Bread and the Holy Spirit showed up and they started have licks of fire on their tongues like in Acts 2.
If not community, what is the key to revival?
It has always been communion with the Holy Spirit. William Seymour was not known for his hugs but he was known for putting his head in an egg crate and crying “Come, Lord Jesus, Come.” The Latter Rain revival started the same way. Even Brownsville started as a response to eighteen months of deep communion with the Holy Spirit. It is the pattern we see.
Smith Wigglesworth launched his worldwide ministry is response to ten days of communion with the Spirit. He locked them himself in a room and went to bliss with the Spirit. AA Allen had the same story as well.
The pattern is they have communion with the Spirit and because of that, the culture of heaven overflow through them to the broken and dying world around them. They live and base ministry on bringing heaven to earth and living the words of Christ, “On Earth as it is in heaven.”
These guys were not the most social people on earth but they raised the dead, they healed the sick, they cast out devils and they preached with signs and wonders. A.A. Allen was known for even avoiding discussion with people at times. He are no social lite but the miracles he saw was out of this world.
If you want to change the world, you won’t do it going to the community baseball game for the church. It will be in the secret place contending for revival.
Is community anti-revival?
Not really. It can kill a revival faster than anything but it doesn’t have to be anti-revival. If it happens organically, it will not make the Holy Spirit “pack up and go home.” The keyword here is organic. In my experience, pastors struggle with having faith that is organically made.
When they made community a focus and not the presence of the Holy Spirit, revival is over. It might last a few more weeks but the Holy Spirit will be leaving with the Presence quickly. He will not take second place to home groups and coffee shops. He just won’t. He will find someone who want communion first.
Organic community where people are personally in pursuit of the Kingdom in their lives and the presence of the Holy Spirit is where God is honored.
The attempts of pastors to make it happen in their own efforts and by manilipation and guilt tactics is what grieves the Holy Spirit.
How do I know it grieves the Holy Spirit? The same greek word for “Quench Not the Spirit” is used again in Matthew 25:1-13 that is all about communion with the Holy Spirit. When we care more about community, the Spirit is grieved.
When we think that being the Bride of Christ is about us, we have miss the whole point. The Bride exist for the Bridegroom, not herself!
This problem is as old as the gospel
In Luke, we read about a story of two sisters; one was praised and the other was confronted. One day, Jesus came to their house and one of them was busying getting everything ready for everyone to have community and probably a feast.
The other sister was smarter. She did not care about community or even the culture she lived in. All she cared was she wanted to worship the Lord. It says she sit there and did not get up for anything. She was locked on the presence of the Holy Spirit.
The community focused sister was not happy and ask Jesus to tell her to help her so they could have community with other people following Christ. There are preparations needed to host people to have fellowship, after all.
Jesus respond and told her that the sister at her feet was right where she should be and if she was smart, she would quit worrying about the cake in the oven and all this community business so she could join. Worship and communion is what really matters. It is what draws the masses to Christ.
This is one thing I love about Todd Bentley. He would just sit at the feet of Jesus. He didn’t care if he was on national television. He wanted the presence of God. He would soak in the glory of the Lord every night.
People on their way to sell drugs would be draw to the meetings and they got radically saved. It was not the preaching that delivered them; it was the presence of the Lord doing it.
Communion with the Holy Spirit works!