A few years ago at a men’s breakfast in church I sat with a man who had recently started coming to HICC with his wife. Before they came to us, they worshipped at a non conformist church in Harrow, although originally they were Roman Catholics. When he rang to tell them of his move the reply was “I thought they rolled on the floor at that church!” This is clearly a naïve and bigoted statement. I have been attending Pentecostal Churches since 1949 and not once have I ever seen such a thing occur. How disappointing – apart from soiling their clothes, it would have added some excitement to a lot of very boring services I have been in.
In the days when that occasionally happened, so history informs us, the church had more power than it does now; the sick were healed, sinners were saved and the demon depressed were set free. They worshipped in timber and tin huts and were not only poor but ostracised from mainstream Christendom. People were warned not to attend their churches because funny things happened in their services, but it would do present day critics a great deal of good to go back in time, perhaps it would do us all good, to enter history, see the physical demonstration of God, put up with some excess, and laugh in church, although I am not convinced that would happen in many Pentecostal Churches I have been in.
As the Pentecostal movement has developed it has established its own Bible Colleges, and now most ministers have their theological degrees or diplomas – they have become respectable, but revelation is still a premium, and evades many ministers. It’s not how many degrees you hold or training you have received, but what your relationship is with God. It’s not just feeding a person’s mind but touching their heart which is the priority. Exegetical and experiential preaching is needed to lay foundational teaching for future trials. The one touches the head and the other the heart.
If some people who administrate church offices in Harrow think that of us what other things do they also imagine? I wonder what juicy bit of gossip has been magnified out of all proportion, which gullible people want to believe. We don’t have to defend ourselves, for there is nothing to defend. It matters not what people think of us, for once a person has been in a HICC service, they will soon be convinced that we are sane and spiritual, and in a way that is sad, for perhaps we are so ordered that we no longer expect the unexpected? There are times when we sing good old Charles Wesley hymns, as a teaching tool towards worship; and the preaching is geared towards lifestyle change to reflect God’s glory; what more can a person want?
There was one prominent Baptist in the local area who always used every opportunity to remind me that silence is part of worship, as if I or HICC have no idea what silence is. Silence was so unusual in heaven that it is recorded, and it lasts for all of 30 minutes. Half an hour is all there is in heaven, and that in eternity is but a small fraction of the time, after that we must assume that there is continual praise and worship – there could even be few rolling around heaven’s roads, at least they would collect gold dust, but I’m of the opinion that most of them will fall flat, face downwards in His presence. It may be that when we get to heaven, we will have missed that half an hour, what will we do then – go back to church for a quiet period?
If I have learnt anything in over 50 years of ministry, it is that to prejudge a church is lunacy. Not until you have worshipped there for a minimum of three months do you really know anything about the fellowship; and, you will never get the perfect church. Whether we roll, stand or dance is unimportant, whom our heart worships is. We can worship worship by worshipping the tradition of the years, the form and ceremony or worship to God. Whenever we worship God because we expect Him to do things for us it becomes idolatry. If the devil can foul and smudge our worship we will compromise our morals.
We worship at HICC in a style so we don’t frighten people away, and to ensure the family (from every kindred tongue and nation) can dwell together, sharing a common experience and blending into a mighty choir of unity. As for ‘rollers’ we do have vacuum cleaners!