In April 2006 I began to read Third Day Churches, by Gary Goodell. The subtitle reads, “Permission has been granted to do church differently in the third millennium.”
Preposterous! Was Gary Goodell reading my journal?! Was he listening in on my prayers?! Reading my thoughts?! Spying on my reading?! Discerning my inmost dissatisfaction with church-as-usual?! How did Gary so accurately understanding my craving for a radically fresh way of doing church?!
Well, it turns out that I am not alone! There is a groundswell of believers across this country and around the world who are crying out for new wine skins in this third millennium.
Gary cites Christian Schwartz who suggests that we are in the era of a third reformation.
The FIRST REFORMATION took place in the 1500s when Martin Luther fought for the rediscovery of salvation by faith and the centrality of grace and of Scripture -- a reformation of THEOLOGY.
The SECOND REORMATION occurred in the 1700s when personal intimacy with God was rediscovered -- a reformation of SPIRITUALALITY. (And I would add, an extension of that into the 1900s with the advent of the Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements.)
The THIRD REFORMATION is occurring now, as many believe, and has been described as a reformation of STRUCTURE. Gary states that, “This reformation promises to be more like a revolution in its passion to alter how the church functions, both in its life and mission.”
I am SOOOO READY for this revolution. I long to be part of a church where the typical Sunday morning paradigm of singing and a sermon gives way to a more organic, participatory, life-changing form of gathering. Where worship is no loner practiced as just singing a string of songs, but where the Holy Spirit is welcomed, trusted, and depended upon to order the gathering. Where leaders’ agendas are always submitted to the Spirit and often rearranged in the moment. Where spontaneity opens the door for testimonies, prophecies, exhortations, Scripture reading, intercessory prayer, expressive and free-flowing praise, and where the supernatural presence of God radically transforms lives.
Do it, Lord!
BTW, Gary Goodell’s book was later published as, Permission has been Granted to do Church Differently in the Third Millennium. Lean more at his website, www.thirddaychurches.com.