The black Pentecostal church, once the pillar of the community and the standard bearer of the Christian faith was seen as that sanctified, set-aside church, where people came to receive Salvation. The Pentecostal churches comes in every race, creed and color; however, the black Pentecostal church had its own way of worship.
By writing this book, highlighting issues and situations occurring in the church today, is not to reprimand, insult, or make fun of the church. The purpose of writing this book is to examine the changing standards and the way we go about conducting services, to see if it is expedient for us to maintain these changes in reaching our ultimate goal – winning souls for Christ.
Today, it appears that instead of the church being set-apart, it rather be assimilated with the world. Years ago, one could spot a ‘Saint' from a mile away. Today you would be hard pressed to pick one out. Even the very thing that distinguished the Pentecostal church from all other churches, its music, has become indistinguishable.
Let's look at these issues and discuss if we are going down the right path. Let us pray and seek guidance so that we may preserve the church as Jesus wants it to be, a House of Prayer. – Sharon D. Smith, Author
Cover art: courtesy of Compass Print Inc., Ray Ellis Gallery of Savannah, GA. Reproduction of ‘Morning Prayer' by Ray Ellis. Cover design by Westbow Press.
Let's consider and compare our old way of worship to how we worship today. We will consider if our worship is moving our faith forward or further away from the mark of the high calling of Christ Jesus our Lord. We Pentecostal Christians must discern if the ways in which we worship are fruitful and beneficial, or are they just bodily exercise that profits us little (1 Tim. 4:8).
People are certainly dying, I mean literally dying, for their freedom to worship God in the beauty of holiness all over the world. We must take worship seriously and appreciate the opportunity and freedom we have to do so. We must also sincerely seek the face of God to determine if we are worshipping in vain. Our worship should not be done solely to keep us entertained or to entertain the young people.
When the Spirit moves and falls over a service, the excitement comes, the exhilaration we feel is real, and the Glory of God fills the temple and our hearts and minds are changed for the better. We should dissect our songs, messages and praises in order to determine if they are right, if they are sincere. Is it pleasing to our God? Are we worshipping Him in true holiness? Are we doing what we do only to glorify flesh?
We members of the Pentecostal Church must live a life above reproach. We can only live a Saved and Sanctified life by being born again, born of the Spirit, which will give us the power to live according to the Word of God. We must be a light in this dark and evil world. Our first work and purpose is to reach souls to be Saved; then have those souls join the church. A person coming into the church from a world of sin should be led to the altar to pray the prayer of repentance. This is my view from the pew.
Sharon D. Smith, born in Harlem, New York, is the author of two books, My Life at the World Trade Center and Screen Door: A Memoir. She graduated with a B.A. from Lehman College and she holds a Master's degree from New York University. She lives in New York City.