This article was first published on Spirit Filled Christian Living
I have been a Spirit filled Christian for 34 years now. Over the years I have seen different practices that in all honesty are a little quirky. I know that some of these practices started in the infancy of the Charismatic and Pentecostal movements and that they might have taken hold just because people didn’t work through their implications due to their immaturity. However I think it might be time that we grow up a little and think through these things and lay them aside for the greater good of people and the gospel. Here are 9 of them that we should really examine a little more closely.
9 Quirky Practices That Spirit Filled Christians Should Reconsider
#1 Trying To Slay People In The Spirit
I hate being pushed around. I especially hate being pushed in the “name of God”. I remember one instance where I was asked to come forward for a “word from the Lord”. Once the word was given, the evangelist that was speaking decided that I needed to be “slayed in the Spirit”, since their word was so profound I guess. They tried to push me down 3 times. Each time I resisted since I knew it was flesh and not the Spirit. On the 4th try, I had had enough. I looked them straight in the eyes and said “If you try that again, it will be you that goes down with a bloody nose.”
I believe in the power of God. I believe that there are times that the power of God becomes so overwhelming that we get weak kneed or cannot stand anymore. However I do not believe that we need to help God to achieve this. God is more than able to knock me on my backside if He feels that I need it. He doesn’t need some person trying to prove their own power with God to help Him.
When we pray for people who are experiencing a powerful touch from the Lord, instead of making a spectacle out of it, why don’t we get them a chair, sit them on it, and continue to pray for them? It is just as effective and it takes the spiritual hype out of the equation. No longer are we glorifying the “great man of God” but instead we are allowing the great God of man to continue to work on the individual.
#2 Playing Dropsy In Front Of The Church
Part and parcel with #1 is the practice of people falling under the power when there is no power to fall under. We have encouraged a belief that people do not receive from God unless they are slain in the Spirit. Once again this is a false premise and many people go up to the front to be prayed for by the “great man of God” and then show how spiritual they are by falling on purpose.
When we were kids we used to play a game that showed our trust. It was called dropsy. We had somebody stand behind us and catch us when we slowly allowed ourselves to fall backwards. Honestly, this is what is going on in some Spirit filled circles. We are just playing a game of dropsy.
I remember the first time God overwhelmed me with His power. It was not slowly falling back and allowing someone to catch me. It was suddenly I was overwhelmed by His presence and power and I had no recollection of even going down. However from that point on, my ability to walk and stand under the power of God increased over the years. What would overwhelm me in my early years, would not even faze me today. I believe that we learn how to walk under His power. We should not continue to be slain in the Spirit time and time again.
#3 The Endless Repetitive Song
I love modern worship music. I love enjoying the presence of God during worship. What I don’t enjoy is when a song continues to repeat time and time again like some type of mantra. The power of the modern worship songs has always been their ability to form words and thoughts for us that our collective hearts want to express to God.
When we just repeat the same thing over and over again, eventually our heart has said what it wants to say and then it becomes an endless repetition rather than an expression of how we feel. How many times do we have to sing “Let it rain” or “I exalt Thee” before we are no longer asking God for the Holy Spirit or expressing our adoration of Him? If all I did in expressing to my wife is repeat “I love you” over and over again all day, it would get monotonous even to her. I have to wonder if God checks out after the 3rd or 4th time we say “I exalt Thee” in a row.
#4 Banner And Flag Worship
I love choreography. I love visual worship. I love using new and creative ways to worship God. However there are times when some things are just distracting rather than facilitate my ability to worship. A sharp stick being slung around near my face is one of those things. I think there is a place for banner worship. I think there is a place for waving flags around. However to do so without some safeguards is just not wise nor helpful.
Can we allow banner worship to be done by trained people who do so in a safe place apart from the rest of us folks? Can we find a way that allows people who are good at such things to do so with freedom without distracting or causing the rest of us to keep our eye out for sharp objects?
#5 Manipulative Tactics Used In Taking The Offering
Not all Spirit filled churches do this but many do. Can we refrain from giving a sermon prior to taking the offering? Can we stop getting our clues from Christian TV telethons on how to take up an offering? I have been in services where they take up to 1/2 hour just to take the offering. Then they get everybody to march up to the front to show how much they are givers. Come on folks! Is it no wonder the world thinks that all the church wants is your money?
God is our supplier. If our church is called by Him, if it is sanctioned by Him, if it is blessed by Him, then we do not need to manipulate people to give. They will give freely because they are receiving freely. They will want to support the church. I have seen where people respond well to having no offering taken publicly but instead there is just an offering box placed at the back. God supplies all our needs when we are doing what He wants us to do.
#6 The Sermon That Never Ends
When I was in Bible college, I had a wise old professor who had been in ministry more years than I had been alive make this statement. “If you preach more than 20 minutes you are either lying or repeating yourself. Now although that statement might not be entirely true, the fact remains that the mind is going to check out after a certain amount of time. The mind will only absorb as much as the seat will endure. We need to stop thinking that wearing people out with sermons that never end and lose their point is something to be admired. It is just another aspect of thinking we are more anointed than we really are.
Nothing bothers me, and many first time churchgoers more than getting bored and looking at their watch to see how long they have endured. In our world that has a 7 minute attention span before needing a commercial break, we would be wise to learn how to communicate in shorter time spans.
#7 The Louder The Sermon The More Anointed It is
There was a time prior to the invention of public address systems that a preacher had to be loud in order to be heard by the people in the back. I believe that there were times where God anointed those preachers with a supernatural ability to be heard and it was loud. However there is no need to shout at people today. We can hear clearly.
When I was little, when I was shouted at, I was in trouble. Shouting at people does not convey that you are anointed or spiritual. It conveys that you are angry. We do not shout at people in conventions, schools, or seminars. It seems we only shout at people in church and that needs to stop. People equate shouting with anger not with learning or education. Think about how you are appearing to people and let go of your religious tradition.
#8 Rock Concert Music Levels
I love rock and roll. When I was younger and my head could support long hair, I had long hair. I played Christian rock and roll with some of the greats. However when the music is so loud that I can’t hear myself sing, then I stop singing.
Worship is not a concert. It is not a spectator sport. It is a participatory event that everyone needs to be involved with. When you have your music levels at such a point that people cannot hear themselves sing, then it is too loud. They cannot participate and they are forced to watch the professionals give a concert. We need to give up the idea that louder is better.
#9 Teaching People To Speak In Tongues
I believe in the gift of tongues. I believe in praying in the Spirit. I have articles on these things on this website. However once again we do not need to give God help in releasing this gift. He is more than capable of doing it.
I have heard people tell people to “repeat after me” when praying for them to receive their prayer language. It used to be a running joke in some circles that a person “learned” how to speak at tongues at ORU because they would always start off with the word “shondala”.
There comes a time that we need to have enough faith in God and His desire to really anoint and empower people that we do not try to “make it happen”. We need to get back to allowing the Spirit to empower people as He wills. We need to stop worrying about the results. Those are God’s responsibilities not ours.
The Apostle Paul stated when bringing correction to the Corinthian church for some of the abuses of the Spirit filled life that was happening there that “When he became a man, he put away childish things”. May God’s Spirit also speak to us as to which childish things we should also put away in our modern expression of the Spirit filled life.