No Legitimate Vision. Why are we even gathering together? What is the vision? What's the point? When many pastors are asked about their vision, they often share their ministry goals. The two couldn't be more different. You may have goals to add a certain number of people to the pews or to build a second campus, but that is not vision. Vision is a supernatural infusion of the impossible. It's the burning purpose of the ministry. It's the very reason the leader is gathering people together. True vision will grip the pastor night and day. It's costly. It's deeply personal yet the body is invited to participate. Revival-minded people want to run with a leader who has had their hip taken out by God, who has no other reason for living than to fulfill their mandate. The vision is alive, burning, raging, all-encompassing and humanly impossible to fulfill.
Uhmm, right, so what was the vision again? Burton's answer is more nebulous than the shared example of ministry goals. Burton just cobbled together some Charismatic power words in the hope that it would sound really spiritual but it just sounded as confusing and out of control as the services he wishes to create. True vision should grip a pastor night and day but true vision must always be the Gospel. God has the vision beloved -- not us. He has given us that vision in His word. There is no need to seek a word elsewhere. There is no need to create chaotic church services where we can hear from multiple people who think they hear from God. not when we can actually hear from Him through His word! This misguided vision nonsense comes from the purpose driven church teachings that convince pastors that they are a vision casting CEO instead of a shepherd called by God.
Misplaced Emphasis on Worship. In many churches that consider themselves to be supernaturally motivated, a spirit of prayer has been replaced by a strategy of worship. Emphasis has been placed on an excellent musical experience, believing that it's the highest form of supernatural expression and the quickest route to fulfilling the goal of introducing a spiritual element into the service. A 60-second prayer as the worship team members hold hands in a circle on the platform is usually followed by an hour or so of practice. I'll say this as clearly as I can: A spirit of true worship cannot come without a spirit of fervent prayer leading the way. Some of my favorite worship experiences have been in churches with a single, ragtag guitar playing leader, sometimes with other musicians and sometimes not, who just bleeds intercession. You can see it. You can feel it. They play spontaneously, in the Spirit, with no song list, no script, no karaoke sing-a-longs. Intermixed are songs in tongues, tears of passion, and powerful prayers and declarations. The people are undone, rocking, trembling and deeply hungry as the Holy Spirit whips through them like a mighty wind. Compare this with highly polished, well-orchestrated worship sets with surface-level, manufactured exuberance that any discerning remnant believer can pick up on with their eyes closed and their hands tied behind their backs. Again, no spirit of prayer, no spirit of worship. Period.
Ugh. You had me right up until you jumped off the Charismaniacal cliff again John. I agree the pursuit of musical perfection has often come at the price of spiritual integrity but John Burton's vision of what worship is sounds downright frightening. Worship is NOT prayer. It is NOT intercession. Prayer and intercession, as noble as they might be, are usually self-focused or focused on the needs of someone else. Worship is supposed to be about God. Declarations to God is not worshiping Him. Tongues have no place in worship. Speaking incoherently is not worshiping God. Even if you still think that babble is a prayer language, why are you singing your private prayer language to God in public without an interpreter? Once again, Burton's desire is the most chaotic experience he can orchestrate. No song list? Playing spontaneously in the spirit? I have seen this first hand as a traveling worship leader once was at a local church. She sang for 15 minutes straight one single line -- "If you want a hug from Jesus come into the river." People were "diving" in at the altar screaming they were wet but none of it was from God and none of it glorified Him and that is kinda the point about worship. The people being undone, rocking, and trembling is all about "feeling it" but it is not spiritual in the least. Droning out one chord while repeating nonsense about hugging Jesus in the river is not prophetic nor is it coherent. Burton tries again to sound super-spiritual but prayer and worship are two different things.
Unusual Church. Remnant Christians can't stand one more church-as-usual service. We are done! It's time for unusual church. It's an unscripted, spontaneous, risky, messy, open-ended, explosive and often-offensive environment where God blows in with might. My pastor friend's plea is real. He wants to connect with pastors and leaders who are yearning for an unusual church experience. I do too. My prophetic friends who last night cried out for anything but church as usual are not alone. There are many remnant Christians who are desperate for the new wine. I hear from people all over the world on a very regular basis asking me if I know where they might find such a church, an unusual church on fire. Sadly, I must confess, most of the time I do not. This must change. Come on, pastors: no more church as usual. For real this time.
At least he admits it is unusual. Now if he would only see it is demonic. Do these words represent a God of order? Messy, risky, unscripted, explosive, and offensive? That sounds much more like the devil. Even the referent to new wine in the closing only reminds us how unbiblical this all is. The key verses are comparing the old wine of the law to the new wine of grace and how you cannot mix them. A vitally important part of scripture that John Burton thinks means we can run church service like an out of control three-year-old and call it "new wine." It is very important that if you are a pastor who preaches the Gospel and relies on it alone, that you ignore these demonic calls for change. If you find yourself in a church that is espousing these teachings and you find church service is an out of control free-for all blamed on a move of the spirit I pray that you run out of there as fast as you can. If they try to stop you just tell them you are on fire. They seem to like that.