Gathering In Power
Throughout the Old Testament and the New Testament, we see a clear pattern at work. When God’s people gather together, good things happen. Miraculous things happen.
And all the Israelites came together to the king at the time of the festival in the seventh month…accompanied by trumpets, cymbals and other instruments, the singers raised their voices in praise to the Lord and sang: “He is good; his love endures forever.” Then the temple of the Lord was filled with the cloud, and the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the temple of God. — 2 Chronicles 5:3, 13–14
Let us therefore come to worship, with a true heart, in complete assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold on tightly to our confession of hope, without being diverted; the one who announced the message to us is trustworthy! Let us, as well, stir up one another’s minds to energetic effort in love and good works. We mustn’t do what some people have got into the habit of doing, neglecting to meet together. Instead, we must encourage one another, and all the more as you can see the great day coming closer. — Hebrews 10:22–25
When believers get together, we get a small glimpse of the glorious unity in the Age to Come. One day, we’ll all be gathered on a new earth, under a new heaven, a unified & spotless Bride, enjoying God’s resurrected creation together. As we look forward to That Day, we can feel its reverberations coming back in time to us, here and now, as we stand together with voices raised celebrating our resurrected Redeemer. This. This is why we gather. This is why we keep doing conferences. It’s why we keep meeting on Sunday mornings. It’s important.
When the day of Pentecost had finally arrived, they were all together in the same place. Suddenly there came from heaven a noise like the sound of a strong, blowing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. — Acts 2:1
We don’t meet for the sake of meeting; we meet to encounter Jesus in each other, to grow together en masse under compelling prophetic messages, to collectively experience the manifest presence of the Holy Spirit. It is good to be reminded how big God’s family is.
For decades now, we’ve been hosting conferences because we continue to see lasting fruit from them. Something mysterious and wonderful happens in these events as God’s anointing covers our unity, amplifying our individual efforts and propelling us all forward. From the worship to the healings, to the testimonies, to the teaching, to the laying on of hands impartation, to the life that happens in-between sessions…there’s nothing like it.
In the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Symeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen from the court of Herod the Tetrarch, and Saul. As they were worshipping the Lord and fasting, the holy spirit said, ‘Set apart Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’ So they fasted and prayed; and then they laid their hands on them and sent them off. — Acts 13:1–3
For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. — 2 Timothy 1:6
There are things that can only happen when you’re there. When you’re in it. In person.
This is a mystery: sometimes God calls us to sojourn, to pilgrimage, to leave the every-day and go to a place in order to receive. Saul and Barnabus were called-out in a meeting. Timothy was equipped for his destiny by means of Paul (and presumably other leaders) laying their hands on Timothy and praying for what we now call impartation.
Don’t get me wrong: we believe that God can and does empower people remotely, sovereignly. I’ve been on many live webcasts where viewers were touched and healed at home, yet we can’t deny that most people are touched when they take the time to travel, to pilgrimage to a place of blessing. In both the Old Testament and the New, we see people going from one place to another in order to encounter God.
I would encourage you to take a fresh look at your local church congregation. Perhaps it’s time to ask God: “Is there more for me to be found in my local church? Is there a group of people you’re calling me to pull from?” And yes, do ask the Holy Spirit if there’s a special gathering to which you are being called to go. For our part, we have large events like Voice of the Apostles, and smaller regional events like Dauntless and Relentless, and international ministry trips all around the world. Any of these will give you an opportunity to encounter new people, new teaching, new opportunities to receive impartation. But you can start at home by looking for ways to foster unity among your own group of Jesus-followers.
Here’s my call to action: let’s believe that when believers gather together, something special and supernatural happens. It’s not simply people in a room; it’s a unique time where God multiplies blessing to his people exponentially. Where we get a sneak-peek at the unity and power of the Age to Come in the here-and-now.
May God bless you as you (re)connect with your local body of believers and as you prayerfully discern where God is calling you to journey.
P.S. We have a few powerful conferences coming up to round off this year. Cultivate Revival NYC with Marylin Hickey, Todd White, Bill Johnson, Randy Clark, et al in downtown Manhattan on September 11–14; Voice of the Apostles with Heidi Baker, Randy Clark, Samuel Rodriguez, Joseph Garlington, Robby Dawkins, Will Hart, et al in Lancaster, PA October 1–4; Relentless with Chris Gore, William Wood, Ben Williams, Brian Starley, et al in Rancho Mirage CA November 21–23; Empowered in Mechanicsburg, PA, December (opens soon). Lastly, our international trips demonstrate cross-cultural unity in a spectacular way.
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This commment is unpublished.· 8 months agoI totally agree with this article and I cannot wait for voice of the Apostles which I have already registered and even got my hotel room thank you for this wisdom.
This commment is unpublished.· 8 months ago(y). What you’ve said is great and is an insight I will continually key into. Looking forward to attending many more conferences. Thanks.
This commment is unpublished.· 8 months agoLove what you have said, so encouraging and true! I would so love to be part of both, large and small gatherings. Some of us live so far off the map, the small meetings are what we have, so thankful for them.
This commment is unpublished.· 8 months agoRight on! If you think about the early Church, all they had were small gatherings. Jesus seemed to focus more energy/time on his core people (Peter, James, John) than he did on the twelve; he spent more time on the twelve than the 72; he spent more time on the 72 than on the crowds. It doesn’t negate the benefit of a large gathering, but it certainly should inspire us to re-engage with the intimate gatherings of life. :-)
This commment is unpublished.· 8 months agoI've read this times already this week and keep being encouraged by it. I attended "The Is More" in Birmingham last month, having never been to any Christian Conference before. It was amazing and reminded me to get back into church fellowship after 15 years of going it alone.
I saw break through in healing at the conference and left my testimony on video. I hope it encourages others. God is awesome! Tomorrow I am going back to church for the 3rd week in a row since returning from TIS.
Thanks for sharing this message. And good luck with the underwater basket weaving. ;-)
This commment is unpublished.· 9 months agoI’m the care-giver for my mom who has dementia so I often can’t go anywhere but I can invite people into my house and I do. I’ve been known to work out in the yard and snag people as they go by.
This commment is unpublished.· 8 months agoI want to add another perspective on this. My mom had dementia. We have place mats that have a flourish pattern and sometimes she thinks it's a puzzle and spends hours trying to solve it. She doesn't always remember who I am or that she lives here. Yet she still asks me how can God use her? Why is she still here? What can she do for God? We talked about it again today. I'm wondering how other people would answer this question. Here is what I told her. We have people who come into the house to provide services and I have had some of them tell me that their lives have been changed by being here. They see how we live our lives. If we are doing our devotions and prayers when they are here I ask them to join us. Some of them sit with mom when I leave. I have been told by a few of them that God has spoken to them through the devotion that was read or the sermon on the TV show that mom was watching. I told her that her choice to watch a Christian TV show rather than a soap opera had given God the opportunity to talk to the person that was sitting with her. They see her reading her Bible. She asked me to put a scripture up on the wall in her room which other people read when they go in there. And she is a prayer warrior. She can't go to conferences, but we do devotions and pray together everyday and she can still be used by God.
This commment is unpublished.· 9 months agoPowerful words inviting simple action to doors here and there, where we find more of God in us! Christ, The Hope of Glory!!!
This commment is unpublished.· 9 months agoThanks for this great reminder Joseph.
We really do need to be aware and expecting that Jesus will show up in a powerful way in the midst of two of us, or 20,000 - and that He can (will) use each of us as we lean into Him together!
Wow, a geeky marketer that loves Jesus, roasts his own coffee and plays guitar - a man after my own heart!
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This commment is unpublished.· 9 months agoThank you for introducing this topic. There is so much more that can be said about the power and value of worship gatherings of small groups and the Lord's pleasure with people who gather in small churches ( upwards of 80% of Christians attend a church of less than 100) and the Holy Spirit's desire to move among His people regardless of the size of the group. The Lord moves with power in different ways among different sized groups.
May I challenge your challenge-"Perhaps it’s time to ask God: “Is there more for me to be found in my local church? Is there a group of people you’re calling me to pull from?”"
As a pastor of small church may I also suggest the challenge that followers of Jesus ask God how they can serve, what they can bring and what they can give to the work of His Kingdom in a local church body?
This commment is unpublished.· 9 months agoJOE shares great wisdom and his geeky talent helped me a lot when I served at global for a season. Good words of encouragement this morning.
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