This past Sunday was one of those days that I am sure I will not soon forget! Thirty minutes before our first service began, a man had a medical emergency while driving his car down the highway in front of our church. He lost control of the car, turning, flipping, and ultimately smashing into and knocking down a power line that fed power to our campus. Upon impact, we lost all power across our whole campus! For anyone who saw the carnage and the aftermath, you would be certain that no one could have survived. However, a miracle did take place! By the grace of God, the man walked away from the accident, going to the hospital for minor scrapes and bruises.
Because of what happened we were faced with several realities….
- We have no power anywhere. So…no AC, no lights, no microphones, no speakers….everything we have grown to rely on for worship and discipleship was taken away from us.
- We live in Florida AND it’s summertime….so with no AC pumping and hundreds of bodies in a room with no air flow it’s about to get really hot!
- At the beginning, we also had no clue about how the man who had the accident was doing. So thinking that someone could be seriously hurt just a few blocks from where we were was weighing heavy on our hearts, too.
So, what did we do? Well, I want to brag on the Aloma Church staff. What a great group of men and women God has called to serve our church! Every one of them did a stellar job this past weekend! Cory pulled the worship team together and went through an acoustic set of familiar songs we could worship to. Steve and our facilities team was making sure flashlights were distributed. Travis and Joyce in the preschool and children teams were on top of the situation. Chris and the media team were preparing various action plans. The whole team did an amazing job!
So what does a church with no windows and no lights (except for battery-powered emergency lights) look like in worship?
With no lights, no microphones, no AC….we still had church and I for one LOVED IT! It was truly one of the most intimate worship experiences I have had. Would I prefer the AC…of course! However, I wouldn’t change the experience we had Sunday for anything.
God has continued to speak to my heart over the past few days as I reflect on our Church in the Dark. Here is what He is teaching me:
- Change is not always bad. I hear Christians all the time say, “I hate change!” To be honest, I don’t like change all the time either! However much of our faith is consumed with change. Think about it. Every aspect of salvation necessitates a change! Redemption is a change from old to new. Sanctification is a change in thoughts and directions. Glorification is a change in reality and existence. Change, though hard at times, is a part of life! As much as we plan for something, we need to be okay when He redirects the plans. No one could have foreseen what transpired Sunday. And a lot of planning and preparation goes into every Sunday worship service….and I mean A LOT! While I think it is our responsibility to prepare and be ready, we have to be okay to change when the situation calls for it. We see this theme spelled out over and over again in Scripture. Man has a plan but our job is to follow God’s plan. At times God’s plan is not the easy road or the road we would have chosen. However it is the best road to travel.
- Jesus is our light! I’m reminded that we are living in a very dark world. And so many people are happy living in darkness. But even out of the darkness, we praised God! If you were in our Elevate service you experienced a powerful moment while hundreds of us were literally singing the words, “Into the darkness you shine out of the ashes we rise there’s no one like you, none like You!” The lights came back on. What an awesome God moment that is so true…out of the darkness, He does shine! And He MUST SHINE OUT OF US! In Matthew 5:14, Jesus tells us “we are the light of the world. A city on a hill can’t be hidden.” Jesus is the source of our light. Now that He lives in us, we contain the light. When we gather together we illuminate the darkness as a city on a hill. Let us take the light and shine it into the darkness.
- We really don’t need a lot to worship God. There is nothing wrong with technology to enhance worship. I love all of the things Aloma Church does to enhance our worship. However, I was reminded that simplicity in worship is very real too! In the quiet, serene, still, dark sanctuary, I saw a body of believers that didn’t gripe about being hot. Didn’t complain that the words to the songs were not visible on the screens. Worship continued to happen despite all the modern-day luxuries being out.