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.