But we do believe in living a Spirit filled, Spirit led life by prayer and the Word. We ascribe to the things Paul writes about in 1 Corinthians 12, 13 and 14.
In the past, we've encouraged people to worship the Lord in Spirit and in Truth, urging them to express their hearts to the Lord as we sing.
Dancing and flag waving has become a part of that expression for some. And distraction to others. Some want the leadership to let the people worship freely. Dance is found as a form of worship in the Bible.
Other in the congregation want it restricted. They feel they cannot invite outsiders because the guest won't understand the flag waving and dancing. It's too unusual. Different.
We've noticed guests arriving and leaving early. If they stay, many don't return.
So the leadership has been debating this topic for months now, even talking with the pastor of another church who has a large dance ministry. He has the same struggle.
Now I grew up with this stuff. The pastor's wife at our church in Tallahassee was a dance major at Florida State. She was a beautiful dancer and trained those in the congregation how to dance before the Lord. There was structure and order to the dancing.
Flag waving? Not a big deal. We do it a ball games, right? Scripture is full of the singers going out behind the banners. AKA, flags.
When the Lord sent me to Israel in '93, I was on a dance and intercession team. And I'm not a dancer...
Yet I can see how it's a distraction. Our sanctuary is boxy, and not built for a lot of movement.
Maybe to the outside eye, flag waving and dancing seems like an awkward expression. In my church now, we don't have a dance ministry leader, so there's less organization and structure.
All in all, those who express themselves in dance and flag waving do it well.
Recently the leadership talked to the dancers and flag wavers about moving to the back of the sanctuary during worship.
Being in the back means more people feel liberty to move about... And some are not always aware of their movements.
Sunday we had a couple of visitors. Like most first timers, they sat in the back. When worship started, the flags started. In the back.
And somewhere along the line, those visitors got "wooshed" with a flag. Not once, but twice. It's unclear if they were hit with the flag stick, or if just the flag itself wafted over their heads, but either way, they were gone. Skedaddle. Out of there.
One of the pastors tried to catch them, but they were too quick. The whole incident seems to have been a combination of things.
The flag waver not being aware. The observers not moving quick enough to remind the flag waver to pay attention.
The guest probably felt uncomfortable and not bold enough to tell the flag waver to be careful. I mean, would you? If you were in a new church?
I've been in some kind of ministry for 22 years. Before that, I watched ministry from my parents point-of-view.
It is never, ever easy to be in ministry. Some people want more liberty and more room for the Holy Spirit to move. Others want more structure, more organization.
I've heard debates over polar opposite issues like pre trib and post. Healing is deliverance from sickness to going home to heaven being the ultimate healing. Do we have to tithe ten percent? Wasn't that the Old Testament?
Leading a church is not easy. I don't envy our pastors. Because every one in the congregation comes to the house with their own paradigm, their own experience, and even yes, their own fears and wounds.
Pray for your pastors. Ask the Holy Spirit to teach and enlighten them. Don't pray what you want, or what some other guy wants, pray what Jesus wants. He is the perfect leader.
To the couple who got "wooshed," I pray you find the right church home where you can grow in the love and knowledge of God. Grace and peace. I'm sorry you got "wooshed" today but we are imperfect and still working it out.
What about you? Are their church traditions or expression that you like? That make you uncomfortable? Is it valid? Is it culture?