In its prime, the church had 88 staff members, a school, and a satellite campus. It was well-known for large Christmas and Easter pageants which included live animals such as camels. Although a mainline denomination, the church used to hold Holy Spirit conferences that drew charismatic and Pentecostals to its campus. Our church would bring a youth team to help teach younger children while the parents were at the conference. Many of our people grew in their faith through their Holy Spirit teachings.
I read a blog by a person who was critical of signs and wonders movements. This person blamed the church for manipulating people into believing people were getting words of knowledge from God and were healing people. Another blog blamed the lead pastor for being divisive and creating disunity that resulted in most of the congregation to leave and start a new church.
The church’s own website blamed a man they allowed to come and lead the church down an authoritarian path around himself that contradicted scripture.
After I reading the various articles, I was concerned for the church I serve and lead. I believe God still speaks to people today, that the Holy Spirit still heals today, that signs and wonders are still evidence of God’s love and presence in our world today. As a church, we are desiring more activity of the Holy Spirit in our gatherings.
We recently clarified our purpose, mission and values. The closed mega-church had clearly written statements that did not prevent them from going drastically off course. What is the solution for staying close and true to God’s calling on our church? We must humbly and desperately hold on to Jesus Christ, the author and perfecter of our lives.
Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.