The sanctuary at To God Be The Glory Church, in Maturin is an impressive worship space as far as size goes -- it comfortably seats 500. But other than its size, it is quite spartan -- basically a concrete block building designed for multiple purposes (as I believe all church buildings should be). They have a school that shares the space.
Saturday night the youth got together for a special service. The couple who will plant the church in Caracas lead the youth ministry. At least 100 young people were in attendance, and the service lasted over 2 hours. At the beginning of the service I sat at the front of the crowd, then moved to the back, so that I could observe the audience. Venezuelans do not hold back when they worship! Whether it be through music or God's Word, they are fully engaged in mind, body, and spirit. Their music is filled with life and physical expression. The arts play prominently in their adoration of God. Drama teams did sketches, there was choreographed dance, and several bands played different genres of music. All those moving parts led up to the message. The preaching by the young church planter was not a masterpiece of oratory, but it was obviously anointed -- at the invitation, a couple dozen people came forward to receive Christ!
Also . . .
Over the last 7 years I have been more involved in foreign missions than at any time in my life. Before that, my primary mission field had been wherever I lived. And that mostly consisted of trying to minister to complacent church attendees. But God began taking me outside of convention when I worked with Henry Blackaby Ministries. There I began ministering to people in different parts of our country who were searching for God for a specific spiritual need. My understanding of the Faith began to change in dramatic fashion. I discovered that God only responds to the spiritually humble, thirsty, and hungry. Then, in 2005 I led a team on an extreme mission to a "large Asian country." When I returned home, I felt disconnected from the institutional church. The disconnect was so obvious I began to ask, "Why?"
It became clear that there was nothing in me that wanted to respond to a church culture that says, "I am the customer. Satisfy me!" Also, God showed me that there are people all over the world desperately seeking a word from someone who knows Him. A conviction began to develop that said, If any believer had even one flickering flame that burned for an encounter with God -- a spark that had not been doused by a consumerist mindset and an inordinate desire for comfort -- they could actually see God work! And, There is a need for an uprising and revolution. Christ's church has been hijacked. It is in the hands of the business-oriented and out of the hands of the kingdom-oriented.
I believe we are on the verge of seeing many new churches -- filled with people longing to experience God -- that will sprout from the ashes of the finally and mercifully dead institutional churches.