The Global Spiritual Trend We Can’t Ignore by J. LEE GRADY for Charisma News
Last weekend, I preached in a small but growing church in central Sri Lanka. There was no sign outside the building because it’s a private residence located in a crowded neighborhood. Most of the people who came to this meeting either walked or arrived in motorized rickshaws, so no parking lot was needed. The worship team consisted of two young men playing guitars and a third guy on a box drum.
The small living room of this modest home had been transformed into a sanctuary, and the 40 or so people who came to worship sat on plastic chairs or on the stairway. I didn’t need a microphone. This church doesn’t use a sound system, a projection screen or fancy lighting. Yet God’s presence was tangible, especially when several people stood to pray for the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
The pastor of this congregation (I’ll call him Siresh) works a regular job during the week—he doesn’t take a salary from the church’s limited income. That’s fine with him because he wants to be in the marketplace all week, getting to know the community. He also regularly shares his faith when he plays cricket with a group of non-Christian guys.
Siresh doesn’t expect his church to stay in a house forever. He plans to grow. But he also plans to train and release his members to start more new churches—in a Buddhist nation where churches were bombed by Muslim terrorists on Easter Sunday in April.
Researchers say what Siresh is doing represents the future of the global church. In places like Iran, Algeria, India and China, thousands of ordinary people are starting small churches that don’t fit the traditional mold. Most of them are not affiliated with recognized denominations, so it’s impossible to count them. These organic church groups meet not only in homes but in coffee shops, offices, campus dorms, hotels, apartment building lobbies, front yards or under trees. And they are multiplying rapidly.