Making Cake in a Warehouse

I’ve never made a cake, but this is what I think you’d need:

A good kitchen with a decent table. An oven. The ingredients. Time and no distractions. A mixing bowl and the various bits of pans and stuff to make it. (I’ve really never made one).

If you were, for example, in a warehouse, with the oven on one side of the warehouse, the table on the other side, half the ingredients missing, no mixing bowl, forklifts driving by you, and only three minutes to make it in, then the forklift drives over the pan and squashes it, you would, I think, find it very difficult to make a cake.

Okay, that’s a very surreal analogy, but here goes. If you want a decent church meeting, you need to get together all the various elements you need for a decent church meeting. You want the cake, but you’re trying to make it in a warehouse.

So, what do you need?

Ingredient #1: A good measure of family

People need to know each other and feel at ease with each other. They need to work on their relationships especially if they don’t spend any other time together apart from in that meeting.

The seating needs to be set out for a gathering not a scattering. Circles, rows, squares, whatever. The main thing is the seats and the people need to be together.

People need to feel at home. People are glad to get home but not glad to get to church. The answer? Make church like home. I don’t mean pot plants and mood lighting and walking around in slippers – I mean, make it welcoming. Be glad to see one another. Love one another. Spend time in the meeting creating a sense of family and unity.

Ingredient #2: A handful of worship

Set apart a deliberate time in the meeting for worshipping God. Recognize that in the worship, hearts are melted, sins are forgiven, healing is happening, righteousness is restored. There’s power in worship. We need prophecies and exhortations and wisdom and correction, but respect and allow the worship, don’t kill it.

Ingredient #3: A dollop of outward focus

Get the church looking outward.

“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” (Matt 28:18-20)

The Great Commission has both an inward and an outward aspect. We do very well at the inward command, “teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” but we do it at the expense of the outward call to make disciples.

We’re only doing half of what Jesus said! “Go and make disciples!” Where’s the outward focus? You may as well try and make a cake without a bowl. In every gathering, there should be prayer for the lost, prayer for the sick, prayer for effective outreach, and a longing and expectation for new people to join us.

Ingredient #4: Two cups of bible teaching

Bible teaching should be clear, concise and to the point. It shouldn’t be ironic, or intellectual, or patronising, or incomprehensible. It needs a point that we can grasp, something we can apply to our lives, something to help us grow. It needs to be progressive, that is, it needs to create a sense of purpose, we need to feel like we are travelling together and discovering together. We need teaching that we can take away, apply in our lives during the week, to come back next week for the next step. Forward. Together.

My burden is this:

We have the Spirit of God, but the Spirit is frustrated by our lacklustre attempts to create a wineskin where Jesus can move in power. The setting has to be right. The valleys have to be filled in, the mountains brought low. The highway needs clearing of stones. You can’t make a cake in a warehouse. We need to set the house in order and we will see the power of God move like lightning down a conductor. We need to put some thought and care and attention into the house we are building. We need to get the conditions right. The gathered body has to be right before God can move.

Don’t bemoan the lack of spiritual gifts among us, that’s not the root of the problem. The root of the problem is our lack of purpose, our lack of direction.

Leaders: dream some dreams. Leaders: have some visions. You’re only a leader if you’re actually going somewhere. Our danger is that we become victims of our own (perceived) wisdom. Find some repentance. Bring it to the congregation and then we’ll see spiritual gifts flourishing and then we’ll build something beautiful for God.

If you’ve got to the end of this article and you’re thinking “yes, but…” or “no, because…” write your “yes but” or “no because” in the comments below.
  • This is good. One question: why shouldn’t bible teaching be intellectual? Is it more spiritual to be unintellectual?

  • Joram

    There’s nothing wrong with intellectualism, and certainly you need to use your mind and intellect to grasp truths explained in the Bible: it’s just that I think we need to avoid baffling people unnecessarily when teaching from the scriptures, not everyone in a congregation is an intellectual and it needs to be accessible and understandable to them as well. The gospel is and always should be a simple truth that everyone can grasp; that’s all I mean really.

  • Richard De Pass

    i agree that bible teaching should be accessible, and think that applying the truths and trying to be scientific in that application is where intellect can be most productively used when acting spiritually. I believe that science and spirituality are detrimentally opposed when the truth is that science is ignorant of spiritual matters, and some spiritual people refuse to take a more scientific perspective. I am not saying that it is absolutely necessary to be saved, and think the good news of Jesus should be shared amongst folk of all types of mental agility.

  • Harry

    I wouldn’t think Bible teaching needed to be intellectual but it should carry an anointing and an authority which cuts to the heart of the issues of the human heart. Which is what Jesus went after on every occasion. This is what breaks the will of humanity from his / her selfishness.

    The original apostles weren’t heavily educated, I think the most intelligent was Matthew the tax-collector, but Jesus message was simple enough for all to receive it, whether educated or not.

    also……

    Why isn’t prayer and Holy Spirit ministry in the ingredients of that cake.

    A well known Bible teacher said a while ago, when speaking with a Church leader from China. You guys get alot done without God being part of it, in the west.
    In the Church in the west there is alot of ‘godly busyness’ that gets in the way of God’s Business of changing lives.
    The lack of prayer is a big part of it. Without our own personal relationship with the Lord Jesus, we can do very little as a group in the Church as a whole. Many might argue this. But if you really asked the Holy Spirit to show you what He wanted to do in the Church. I’d reckon He’d say, ‘Pray more and watch what I can do’.
    The Church does alot of helping the poor but the power of real transformation only comes through spending time in ministering to the Lord.

    When we really pray massive things are unleashed in the heavenlies and Gods Kingdom is built in surprising ways.
    I think in the west we have too much comfort, and don’t allow enough hardship to mould us into what God really wants for us and from us.

    A while back, I stayed at a Mja house where i was told by 7 leaders not to get up to pray so early in the day, so often. I think i was disturbing one of those leaders’ sleep (bless them whoever it was). So I asked Holy Spirit if I could pray for the most senior of those leaders who told me not to pray. And immediately a word of knowledge came back from the Holy Spirit so I began praying into the situation while I was working at HoG. A few days later the leader in question gave testimony about being healed from an illness, I never knew he had. Praise God.

    I have a few other good testimonies like this where Churches have been planted in my home city in the UK. But some leaders won’t encourage younger members to try things incase it makes them look bad or because they are too comfortable where they are.
    For me, Jesus is my Leader, and anyone who gets in the way of His Lordship of my life, then I’ll be gone before they know it. Thats not rebellion, but a genuine desire and hunger to build God’s Kingdom and undo the works that the evil one has sown in all our lives. Jesus paid too high a price for His disciples to sit about twiddling their thumbs waiting for eternity, all because it goes against one groups’ particular vision.

    I left mJa back in ’06 after myself and another got badly hurt, through selfish and over-heavy shepherding. It will not happen again. Even though I’ve forgiven all in the situation and asked the Lord to bless those involved.

    I love you guys intensely, because your bold but do you really want to be a Church, that really builds Gods’ Kingdom or do you want to keep spinning the same wheels you have been for the last 50 years almost.
    Whenever I go to a place I see what really could happen if the senior leaders took a step back and thought we can do better than this and seek the Lord for all they are worth, and as if their lives depended on it. Things wouldn’t stay the same for long. That I can absolutely guarantee.

    That is the heart of a true spiritual visionary., but still a little brother to you guys.

    Gods’ speed to all members of mJa. I really hope you folks can hit the heights I can see you are well capable of.

    P.S. You might wonder who I am, but the Lord has me in preparation for something right now so it would be ill-advised for me to get involved in a heavy discussion on the past. The Lord might even send me back to you in the time ahead. Who knows.
    All i know is I was saved to serve Jesus. Thats all and the best I can do for His Glory. He really does deserve it.

  • Harry

    I wouldn’t think Bible teaching needed to be intellectual but it should carry an anointing and an authority which cuts to the heart of the issues of the human heart. Which is what Jesus went after on every occasion. This is what breaks the will of humanity from his / her selfishness.

    The original apostles weren’t heavily educated, I think the most intelligent was Matthew the tax-collector, but Jesus message was simple enough for all to receive it, whether educated or not.

    also……

    Why isn’t prayer and Holy Spirit ministry in the ingredients of that cake.

    A well known Bible teacher said a while ago, when speaking with a Church leader from China. You guys get alot done without God being part of it, in the west.
    In the Church in the west there is alot of ‘godly busyness’ that gets in the way of God’s Business of changing lives.
    The lack of prayer is a big part of it. Without our own personal relationship with the Lord Jesus, we can do very little as a group in the Church as a whole. Many might argue this. But if you really asked the Holy Spirit to show you what He wanted to do in the Church. I’d reckon He’d say, ‘Pray more and watch what I can do’.
    The Church does alot of helping the poor but the power of real transformation only comes through spending time in ministering to the Lord.

    When we really pray massive things are unleashed in the heavenlies and Gods Kingdom is built in surprising ways.
    I think in the west we have too much comfort, and don’t allow enough hardship to mould us into what God really wants for us and from us.

    A while back, I stayed at a Mja house where i was told by 7 leaders not to get up to pray so early in the day, so often. I think i was disturbing one of those leaders’ sleep (bless them whoever it was). So I asked Holy Spirit if I could pray for the most senior of those leaders who told me not to pray. And immediately a word of knowledge came back from the Holy Spirit so I began praying into the situation while I was working at HoG. A few days later the leader in question gave testimony about being healed from an illness, I never knew he had. Praise God.

    I have a few other good testimonies like this where Churches have been planted in my home city in the UK. But some leaders won’t encourage younger members to try things incase it makes them look bad or because they are too comfortable where they are.
    For me, Jesus is my Leader, and anyone who gets in the way of His Lordship of my life, then I’ll be gone before they know it. Thats not rebellion, but a genuine desire and hunger to build God’s Kingdom and undo the works that the evil one has sown in all our lives. Jesus paid too high a price for His disciples to sit about twiddling their thumbs waiting for eternity, all because it goes against one groups’ particular vision.

    I left mJa back in ’06 after myself and another got badly hurt, through selfish and over-heavy shepherding. It will not happen again. Even though I’ve forgiven all in the situation and asked the Lord to bless those involved.

    I love you guys intensely, because your bold but do you really want to be a Church, that really builds Gods’ Kingdom or do you want to keep spinning the same wheels you have been for the last 50 years almost.
    Whenever I go to a place I see what really could happen if the senior leaders took a step back and thought we can do better than this and seek the Lord for all they are worth, and as if their lives depended on it. Things wouldn’t stay the same for long. That I can absolutely guarantee.

    That is the heart of a true spiritual visionary., but still a little brother to you guys.

    Gods’ speed to all members of mJa. I really hope you folks can hit the heights I can see you are well capable of.

    P.S. You might wonder who I am, but the Lord has me in preparation for something right now so it would be ill-advised for me to get involved in a heavy discussion on the past. The Lord might even send me back to you in the time ahead. Who knows.
    All i know is I was saved to serve Jesus. Thats all and the best I can do for His Glory. He really does deserve it.