Oct 22, 2020.
Public speaking is a fearful thing for many people. In truth, many ministers are not as comfortable with it as they appear. This becomes especially true when we are called to break away from prepared teachings and speak extemporaneously. And yet, there are times when the gospel will ask that very thing from us.
#JesusStories: In Mark 13, Jesus revealed a time when such great turmoil and persecution would come upon Christians that leaders would find themselves having to defend the Church before courts and governmental leaders. Of course, this happened initially in the book of Acts and later some forty years after the death and resurrection of Christ with the fall of the Temple in Jerusalem. However, some of the words of Jesus in this chapter seem to point to a future event – perhaps what is unfolding in our lifetime. Wars, famines, earthquakes, families turning against each other, and hatred of the Christ-followers are among Jesus’ descriptions of a time to come. These things are occurring with greater regularity now than they did in A.D. 70, to be sure. But true to divine form, Jesus made it clear that these seasons of turmoil were also times for the inbreaking Kingdom to advance largely. In verses 9-10 he stated, “But this will be your opportunity to tell them about me. For the Good News must first be preached to all nations.” This is a huge insight into the God Family; they charge forward at the exact moment earthly enemies of the Church look invincible. And they direct us, the representatives of Jesus upon the earth, to be the sharp point of the spear by standing up with authoritative speaking and empowered preaching during these seasons. But, this kind of speaking is different than our training – it is more about the ‘unction of the Spirit’ and less about the ‘preparation of the pastor’. Some preachers during the Great Awakening used to talk about their sermons like this, “Read yourself full, pray yourself hot, and let yourself blow.” That always makes me laugh, but it was their way of ‘flowing with the Spirit’. And there must be something important here, because Jesus Himself said in verse 11, “Don’t worry in advance about what to say, Just say what God tells you at that time, for it is not you who will be speaking, but the Holy Spirit.” Wow! We all could probably grow in our ability to ‘let it flow’. After all, when we speak – we are supposed to be speaking for God. And all the more as we see the day approaching.
#DinnerChurchQuotes: Every faith community we have opened includes some form of a table. -Ray O’ Leary (Pastor of a church in Dallas TX with 7 monastic gatherings)
#PracticalStuff: In these days of Covid when most Dinner Churches are meeting outside on the sidewalks, there is a potent silver lining – the public gets to see the Church doing church. While it was more comfortable to be indoors, we were also less visible. Setting up canopy tents side-by-side: with buffet tables filled with great food in hot chaffing dishes in one, worship musicians and pastors doing their work from another, and guests gathered and eating in yet other pop-ups. With winter weather approaching, these tents not only shields the rain, but they are cheap, quick to set up, and provide a great picture of Jesus’ Church for all passer-by’s. Oh the power of a canopy tent!
Blessings & Boldness,
Dr. Verlon and Melodee Fosner have led a multi-site Assemblies of God Dinner Church in Seattle, Washington since 1999 (www.CommunityDinners.com). In this decade when more churches in the U.S. are declining than thriving, and when ninety-six churches a week are closing, Verlon and Melodee sensed that a different way of doing church was needed for their 97-year old Seattle congregation. It soon became obvious that they were not the only ones in need of a different path. They joined the FX team in 2016 and founded the Dinner Church Collective. And then in 2019 founded the Dinner Church School of Leadership. There is a lot to be gained when church leaders begin to see open doors in the American landscape that they had previously overlooked. Therein lies the journey for those who will forge a new future for the American Church.