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Visiting Churches

Pentecostal Church Insights

Discussing Church 14

The church website doesn’t give their affiliation, but the pastor’s bio implies they’re Pentecostal. Their Facebook page, however, prominently confirms this.

Consider these four discussion questions about Church #14

1. Facebook says the service lasts two hours. I’m glad to know this, but I still dread what awaits me. 

Most people expect church to last an hour. If yours doesn’t, what can you do to communicate this without scaring away newcomers?

2. As posted online, their narrow views on salvation and unity trouble me. But most members don’t know what their church stands for—and would disagree with some aspects. 

How well do you know your church’s beliefs? If we focus on Jesus, does doctrine really matter?

3. Several more people welcome us. This Pentecostal church excels at pre-service hospitality, leaving us feeling valued. 

What is your church noted for? Is it something positive or negative?

4. After we meet many people, the minister introduces himself and asks if we’ve ever been to a Pentecostal church. When I shake my head, he raises his eyebrows and requests we keep an open mind. 

Do people at your church need to keep an open mind? What does this communicate?

[See the prior set of questions, the next set, or start at the beginning.]

Get your copy of 52 Churches and The 52 Churches Workbook today, available in e-book, paperback, and hardcover.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Visiting Churches

The Holy Spirit Grows the Church (Visiting Church #34)

Today’s destination is a tiny country church. Their pastor resigned a couple months ago and some families left as well. Another church from their denomination (some forty miles away) has come alongside them, providing assistance in their revitalization.

Three couples from this other church now rotate in leading their Sunday services. “We’re in a rebuilding phase,” says one man.

52 Churches: A Yearlong Journey Encountering God, His Church, and Our Common Faith

The service begins with singing five songs, ably led by today’s assigned couple. The message, about revival, connects the birth of Pentecostalism in the 1900s with the early church, as portrayed in the book of Acts. I’m glad to hear our speaker acknowledge and celebrate the Holy Spirit’s role in God’s church.

In Acts 1, the people wait and pray; this is part of their preparation. In Acts 2, the Holy Spirit shows up, just as Jesus promised. The church is born.

Nineteen centuries later, the Holy Spirit again takes a lead role, as exemplified with the Azusa Street revival in 1906. Their denomination traces its roots to that event.

Unfortunately, “the church got complacent.” We need to “expect God to do miracles in our lives.” Our speaker shares an example from his own life, as well as from some of the pillars of the charismatic movement. He concludes by quoting William Booth. “I don’t pray for revival; I am revival.”

Through the Holy Spirit, this tiny church can grow, just as it did in the book of Acts.

[Read about Church #33 and Church #35, start at the beginning of our journey, or learn more about Church #34.]

Get your copy of 52 Churches and The 52 Churches Workbook today, available in e-book, paperback, and hardcover.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

Categories
Visiting Churches

A Pentecostal Experience (Visiting Church #14)

This Pentecostal church receives us warmly. The greeter is an amazing ambassador and will interact with us several more times throughout the morning. He introduces us to the pastor’s wife and it’s not long before her husband seeks us out.

The pastor pointedly asks if we’ve ever been to a Pentecostal Church. When I say “no,” his eyebrows rise, but instead of sharing what he’s thinking, he merely smiles and asks for us to keep an open mind.

Many more people welcome us, too. We’ve been to many friendly churches, but this one excels at pre-service interaction.

52 Churches: A Yearlong Journey Encountering God, His Church, and Our Common Faith

Throughout the service we’re encouraged to clap praises to God or express agreement. “Amens” are also solicited and heard but not as frequently. During corporate prayer everyone simultaneously prays aloud. The words I hear are in English, but I suspect some people are praying in tongues, too.

Towards the end of the service the pastor moves into what sounds like a typical alter call, asking people to respond to his message of commitment; I’m perplexed when virtually everyone goes forward.

Next is a baptism; it symbolizes the washing away of sins. Immediately after the young man’s immersion, he’s instructed to pray for the Holy Spirit so he can speak in tongues. Family and friends gather round, laying hands on him and quietly praying.

Though the focus shifts to other things, I keep watching the lad. Eventually I hear unfamiliar sounds coming from his direction. Apparently satisfied with the outcome, his smiling supporters return to their seats.

One person invites us back for the evening service, when “we Pentecostals will get wild.” That’s what I was expecting this morning, so some Sunday evening we may join them for the full Pentecostal experience.

[Read about Church #13 and Church #15, start at the beginning of our journey, or learn more about Church #14.]

Get your copy of 52 Churches and The 52 Churches Workbook today, available in e-book, paperback, and hardcover.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.