So many churches in our faith are trying to ‘revitalize’- and make their congregations ‘come alive’ in the spirit of God. The problem is that ‘HolySpirit excitement’ can’t be dispensed to congregations, like a medication. Genuine enthusiasm comes from an authentic desire to experience the energy and new life that comes from sharing our faith.
Churches need to ask themselves- “WHY do we want new people to show up at our church?” Does our desire to attract new people, come from a desire to welcome and invite new friends into our service, or does it come from a desire to stay alive? Just an honest question. I have met churches that work exhaustively to attract new people to the faith- only to turn them away with a desperate need to assimilate. Ask yourself this question, would you go into a restaurant that immediately wanted you- to serve them? Equally, when a ‘seeker’ walks through church doors- it isn't to be converted. They come because they are hungry for the truth and thirsty for freedom. Jesus is calling us to SERVE them… just as HE served us. THAT is what being an authentic church is all about… following the steps of Christ and serving others.
Revitalization isn't about saving a church, and authenticity isn't about ‘faking it’. God’s authentic church doesn't NEED saving. Authentic churches thrive and grow exponentially all on their own, BECAUSE they are charged with the power of Jesus Christ to transform the world. It is SO easy in these troubled times to focus on fear, decline and insecurity… but please remember that God is SO much more powerful than any of these things. Friends, these are not the worst of times! Human history has shown us time, and time again, that every few hundred years, our civilization takes a turn to the dumps! Rev John Wesley (founder of Methodism) lived during TERRIBLE times (mid-1700’s). Human society was JUST as depraved as today (hard as that is for us to believe). Some of the worst sins were being committed regularly! People were selling their children into slavery! EVERYONE was loosing their faith in those dark times. It was into this hopelessness, that Wesley helped to re-birth the church! The people called “Methodists” transformed the ‘working class’ of pre-industrial England… eventually giving birth to the “Great Awakening” movement, that transformed the newly formed American culture. It has happened MANY times before- and the fields are ripe again for God’s bounty. This is our time. Are we willing to be the workers to harvest?
I welcome the Easter people… the RISEN people of Chapel of the Cross! An authentic Family of Faith. Don’t let your hearts be discouraged in these times of our faith, because these aren't the twilight hours of our long night, but the glowing haze before the dawn. Jesus is calling, Christian! He calls for a New Day… YOUR Day… and nothing can stop its coming. God’s blessings to you.