“The Devil Does Not Love Field Preaching”
– John Wesley
Today, like many churches, our church family gathered in a field and parking lot to worship from our cars. It’s an understatement to say things were a little different. Our ushers were parking attendants, people honked their horns to say amen, and I preached from the top of the church buses. In past weeks we’ve adapted to preaching to a camera for live-streaming services.
But this is not the first time the church has had to do things differently.
For the first two centuries the church met primarily in private homes. There were no church buildings. When persecution came they sometimes moved to underground tunnels that also served as burial vaults.
In the Reformation the Reformers often preached in the market places and streets, and during the Great Awakening, when some churches were too small or their clergy banned the revivalists from the pulpit, they met in the fields and wherever a crowd could gather.
In fact, this kind of adaptation has often been connected with great moves of God throughout church history! Charles Spurgeon wrote, “It would be very easy to prove that revivals of religion have usually been accompanied, if not caused, by a considerable amount of preaching out of doors, or in unusual places.”
I believe it is likely the same now.
So while we won’t get used to meeting behind our windshields and steering wheels, or preaching to empty chairs and soulless cameras, there’s no need to be concerned by it either. We’re just doing what the church has always done. Refusing to allow our circumstances to keep us from being the church!
And we’ll watch for what God’s about to do.