The sound system crashed Sunday morning at New Life during the 9am service and it did not bother God at all. How do I know? His presence was strong as ever, people worshipped, prayed and the Scriptures were taught. Of course, I like it when the sound system works, but I was reminded that God is not limited by technology and that most churches around the world operate just fine without any at all.
The sound system is fine now, but the Sunday morning snafu made me wonder how many people can tell the difference between hype and God’s presence, something us Charismatics call “anointing.” We live in a wired society and we are bombarded with a symphony of sounds, instant messages, Facebook wall posts, Twitter tweets and podcasts.
What happens when the wired world malfunctions? Can we still hear the “still small voice of God” when all is quiet, when the band stops playing, when the lights are not flashing and no one is in front of us leading the way? Do we need hype to worship or is worship all the hype we need?
Later, a BBC film crew asked me what makes church work around the world. I told them church was not about huge buildings or spiritual rock stars, but church works when all the simple ingredients are mixed together. There must be people who love one another. There must be prayer and focused worship of the living God. The Scriptures need to be taught and the Lord’s death and resurrection remembered with communion. People should get baptized at some point after their salvation and those with needs should have them met from the resources of those who have plenty at the moment.
I like our big building and great sound system, and I even like all the flashing lights and giant screens. I like the café, the bookstore, the Tent, the World Prayer Center, the Theatre, the Tag chapel and even the scary angel in the rotunda. But what I love most is the timeless truth of Scripture, God’s presence, the great people and the revelation that grace is all we need.
As the pastor of New Life, I hope we never substitute hype for worship or allow technology to determine our passion for His presence because the church works just fine whether the sound system does or not.