The fog machine has become standard in contemporary and modern worship services. The fad began in the mid-nineties in youth groups, camps and rallies. As a ministry intern, I can remember the first time I was asked to set one up on the church platform as a preparation for a big youth rally. I didn’t think much of it other than being one more thing to soften the atmosphere of the church, digress from tradition, and communicate that we are certainly not religious.
What did I or could I learn from the fog machine? I learned that my leaders were desperate for attendance at any cost. I learned that our mission was to get young people to believe in Jesus on some level, all while proving to them, they were not in a ‘churchy’ environment.
Many years have passed, and my prayers have changed, my desire is for Truth in the inward parts, as King David prayed. My prayer is not so much for young people to simply believe in Jesus, but for them to believe on and in Jesus, that is to say, believe in Him, to the point, of obedience; Repenting of their sins, and placing their Saving Faith in Christ Jesus, with a resulting life filled with good works.
So, how did the fog machine teach me to pray? Last year, I attended a Pastor’s Conference with who I believed, were men and women that desired to come back to a message centered around personal Holiness. I was under the impression that the desire of the heart of these people was to remove the vestiges of entertainment based religion, for the sake of Christ and a new generation that is all but lost in the modern movements. I was under the impression I would be attending a four day conference with Pastors and Clergy that desired nothing more than to worship God in Spirit and in Truth, without the sensual, without the nightclub atmosphere, without the feminizing approach of most modern praise music, but to earnestly, come before God and ask for renewal in our Churches, Families, and in our Nation.
My first evening of the conference, my wife and I walked in to take our seat near the rear of the auditorium that sat upwards of a thousand. I sat with another Pastor friend on my right, and as we began to clap our hands with the beat of the first Praise song, I glanced up, and the first thing I saw, was a man, presumably in his forties, wearing tight red pants, and a short, sport coat, commending me to lift my hands and shout, and to his right, smoke wafted through the air. I was shocked and in denial. What was I seeing? Had I traveled so far to have another, attempt to indoctrinate me that this is what is necessary to reach a lost and dying generation that has no interest in our God?
For a moment, I hoped it was smoke, but it was fog, from a fog machine. There I was, in a room full of mostly middled-aged clergy, some younger, but mostly not, in a nightclub like atmosphere. And just then, across the ceiling and the walls, there was dancing lights and shapes that whirled about the entire auditorium, as the fog continued to waft along the front, filling the altar area. Just then, the electric guitar put out a solo like you might hear in a Carlos Santana song……And there was not much else I could hear the rest of the conference.
This was it, our greatest hope for reforming the reformation, and it was all sensual, carnal, and fleshy. The glory went to whomever was holding the microphone, the jokes were funny, the shouts were loud, the fog, was, well, foggy. And it was a tragic disappointment for me.
It would be about four months before I had the time to truly assess what had happened. And when I came to the conclusion, that was the best they had, the best they could offer their guests, in regards to what we all must do to reach our generation; I was driven to prayer. Prayer for Pastors, and churches. Prayer for our nation, prayer for my own children, wondering what type of church, if any, will be available to them in their future. My soul was in anguish over the plight of the modern church, a church that has so feminized and sensualised the gospel, that is is near unrecognizable as affecting any change, in life and conduct of it’s followers. This is how the fog machine effected my prayer life; it set my soul in anguish, and the disappointment of it’s continued appearance and associated theology has set me to a more fervent prayer.
And so, as I did on that day last year of awkwardness and disappointment, I clinch my eyes shut, I bow my head, I break myself before the Lord Jesus, and pray; Lord help us, that the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart, would be acceptable in your Sight, Oh Lord.
So we, as the Body of Christ, continue to pray for the Lord Jesus to lead us, help us, guide us, mold us, and shape us, into the image of the Son of God; Christ Jesus. And we humbly reject the sensual model of worship, so common in modern christendom.
My Name is Joshua Mangels, I am answering God’s call, to call God’s People to Holiness in a generation that has not been given the invitation to walk Holy. Please follow me on Twitter for daily updates and encouragements.