I have begun writing this post on the train on my way home from an afternoon of extraordinary ministry at the Body, Mind & Spirit Festival in Melbourne because I can hardly contain what is stirring in my spirit (and the guy sitting next to me is asleep and the guy in front of me is glued to his iPhone)!
First, I want to give praise to God for leading spiritually hungry and searching people to The Salvation Army stand at the festival. People were literally lining up for prayer, answers and direction from all walks of life and stages of faith. Holy Spirit gave us amazing opportunities to speak about Jesus, explore people's faith journey, listen to some painful stories, share prophesy and pray for healing. We even had a lady come back to tell us how she was miraculously healed at last years festival after receiving prayer at The Salvation Army stand!
I found myself confronted by some pretty strong conflicting emotions: Excitement at the opportunities of ministry presented by the festival and disappointment at the missed opportunities by the Church, sadness at the number of spiritually lost and anger at the exploitation of the spiritually vulnerable. It has left me asking why thousands of people will pay $18 admission and spend obscene amounts of money at such a festival in an attempt to have their spiritual yearnings met when Melbourne is saturated by Christian churches? Has the Church failed at it's mission? Have we missed the harvest?
At the risk of offending, I believe the attraction of the Body, Mind & Spirit Festival to spiritual seekers is an indictment on the Church!!
I praise God that amidst the brokenness and darkness there are Christians who are prepared to shine a light of hope and unashamedly proclaim the name of Jesus and the power of His Spirit to a lost and hurting world. May this festival reignite a fire within every Christ follower to reach spiritual seekers and for every church to be a safe place for spiritual seekers to find the fulfilment they are searching for through Jesus Christ!