One of the strongest hope-offers from God toward us is that of renewal. The trend which He anticipates for us is to be new day by day. Don’t you love the very thought? Such isn’t merely rote habitualizational church chatter. Rather, it is that profound hopeful element that drives us as a church upward and outward.
Is there hope for the church today? No, I mean really…is there reason to be an expectational people? Shall our leaders buy into the idea that congregations can move from stagnation or decline into a renewal mode? Certainly.
Transition into acceleration toward growth will come about the more we abandon the business model and transition to the truth of dependence upon the Spirit of God within and among us. Admittedly, this is a necessary risk that is challenging…and productive. For too long I tried to do the work of the church from my best…well…my best know-how. But God does not function within such meager limitation.
What will help us turn things around? Oh, we are seeing it. Prayer is the starting point. Yet, and it isn’t prayer alone; but a believing prayer. Shelling out words without the faith backing is simply offering air-chatter…and hopeless talk at that.
Therefore, a congregational confidence via prayer will include key assistance for all of us to gain insight as to how we actively fit the (church) body life. Equipping is essential. Sometimes our tendency is to offer calls or assignments when we may need to back up and do a bit of training.
When I began in ministry, I could not teach a person how to be saved. Oh, I knew the rules and the verses. Yet, I didn’t think that I could share it. Others could do it better; so I stayed out of the way. Admittedly, I avoided the responsibility for a long time. Guilt finally drove me, no forced me, to try. As I tried, God seemed to open my heart as well as my skill.
May we learn to help each of our members feel more than merely responsible. We must help them see that they fit. I’m noticing so many of whom we would regard as attenders only who simply do not see themselves as important or necessary to make a difference for anyone else. And, I’m sympathetic for that’s how I felt.
But when focus is given to patiently assist our members in seeing that they are important and do fit in, their faith action will increase. As leaders we cannot assume that our members know this power amazing within them. Thus, they step politely aside yielding, in their minds, to the more qualified. But, they are mistaken. Each is embedded by the Spirit to do valuable work for the Kingdom benefit.
Such a calling will take more than an announcement from the pulpit or in the church bulletin. This message is the calling of our wonderful and powerful leaders. When these work with our members individually with both explanation and invitation, it seems that renewal begins for form. Patience pulls us forward and confidence seems to build.
As Jesus began his ministry…one by one…today’s work follows the same effective pattern. Patient, calm, partnership and training allows our hesitant members to begin to try…to try to serve others. What happens is discovery…a discovery that we are able to do more than we thought or imagined because such is the actual trend of God in us.
It is because of God’s tender and patient leadership…that we can actually make a great difference…for our neighbors.