I recently met for our church’s Breakthrough Prayer Meeting. I was honored to share this time with Tom and Jan Cockerham. These two servant leaders have led faithfully in both pastoral and missions ministry for over 50 years. You can be sure of this… they are still leading.
Our focus was on 2 Corinthians 2:4, “For the weapons or our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds…”
We shared that this spiritual arsenal included God’s Word, prayer, praise, the Name of Jesus, etc. And all the above made more powerful when wielded in unity. However, what was so profound, even prophetic for me was Pastor Tom’s answer to the closing question, “What are the strongholds in the church today?”
His answer, “Traditions and cultural framework.” My response. I simply said, “Wow.” We spent a few minutes talking about just how many things we do in church that are mere traditions. To me this was made all the more telling because it came not from some young, trendy twenty or thirty-something upstart, but from a seasoned veteran of life and ministry. They are both well-versed in the traditions of the church but possess a passion for something more. Jan affirmed and brought application to our theology (as only a spirit-filled woman can) saying simply, “We need more of the Holy Spirit.” Again, “Wow… yes!” was about all I could come up with in the moment.
We began to pray together and in Pastor Tom’s prayer he shot a volley right to the heart of our cultural traditions in worship and ministry…. “Oh, Holy Spirit, break the stalemate in our churches that have come because of tradition. Teach us that there are new ways of doing things that may just be better than the old…” He went on to pray passionately for a church that was struggling and yes, even dying under the weight of over 100 years of tradition.
True, there is much that can be said about the pitfalls of trend. However, as we agreed in those moments, most of our churches are in no danger of being too “cutting edge” in reaching our culture, let alone getting ahead of the Holy Spirit.
Are you part of the stalemate that exists between tradition and the move of the Holy Spirit in today’s church? How can we purpose to break this stronghold and walk in step with the Spirit as we seek to reach our culture in the 21st century?
It’s your move.