Few, if any, of my friends who have been around the pentecostal churches for the last 20 years or so would deny that we have witnessed a change of emphasis in the preaching and ministry.
What we see is the exaltation of the power of finance, and what amounts to a suppression of the power of the Holy Spirit, at least in many of the ways He was formerly free to move in the churches.
In most pentecostal congregations, who are following the “mega” ministries of this world, we hear again and again on the importance of giving money to the local church, for “kingdom purposes” yada yada yada, but we no longer hear so much the supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit, being an important expression of the true voice of God. Nor are people seeking this, because many pastors have been training each other and the people on the importance of shutting this kind of thing down in the church. Of course they don’t say it in these words, but this is the upshot.
Church meetings now run on pre-programmed RUN SHEETS. These sheets tell us down the minute what we are going to be doing in a meeting. Praise and worship practice sessions in the larger mega-churches now work hard at getting that feeling of excellence coming through. Nothing is left to chance. The number of repetitions, the placing of guitar riffs, everything must be planned. If something looks spontaneous and free flowing, it was probably planned that way.
There is generally no place for the spontaneous use of the gifts of the Holy Spirit in many public meetings of Christians today. There is no way we are just going to wait on God with no agenda and trust the Holy Spirit to move. Not until we change our thinking radically.
The leaders who are quenching the use of these gifts kind of sometimes pretend to use them themselves, but even the pretense is dropped in many pentecostal churches today. No, by our actions a long time ago we told the Holy Spirit we don’t really depend on Him speaking to us supernaturally when we come together. We’re led to believe that He is speaking through the pastor’s Sunday message. And I hope He is, because there aren’t many other chances for Him to speak in church.
Dear Holy Spirit, I am missing you. I want you in every church meeting I attend or participate in. I want to know your voice. I want you in every part of every day of my life. Don’t leave us now. Only you can give us the true revelation of Jesus our Lord and Savior.