Late last year my wife Beth had partial replacement surgery done on both of her knees. This was a surgery that she had put off for quite some time, but we finally were able to schedule it at a time when I would be off the road and able to take care of her during her extended rehab and recovery.
The weeks and months after this procedure were certainly anything but fun. There was lots of pain, hours of rehab, and a few setbacks, all of which left my wife wondering on some days, “Why in the world did I have this done?”
Six months post-surgery however, my wife has recovered wonderfully. The mobility and agility that she has now is unbelievable compared to what she had before the surgery. Truly, at the end of the day, the “pain” she endured was well worth the “gain” she received.
The process of Church revitalization is much like my wife’s knee replacement procedure. While it is not enjoyable by any means, it is very much needed. The Church will not be able to function like it ought to unless painful and difficult changes are made.
Please notice that I did not put the word “simple” or “easy” in the title of this article. While I believe the principles that I am going to lay out here are sound and will lead to nothing but good things for our churches, they are by no means easy to implement. However, just like corrective surgery, I believe that the results will be worth the effort.
Let’s look at the steps to revitalization that every church needs to take:
We need to lift the Pastor UP – I am completely aware that we as a denomination have had our share of “bad apples” in some our pulpits – pastors who have been unreasonable, illogical, and even immoral.
However, I believe for every lazy, apathetic, and ineffective pastor, I can show you ten God called, dedicated, hard-working and sincere ones.
Furthermore, I believe that one of the biggest problems we face in our churches today, and certainly one of the biggest hindrances to growth, is church members who refuse to submit to the Spirit led leadership of the pastor.
The sad truth is, many church members think their pastor is great – until he does something they don’t agree with or preaches something that “steps on their toes.”
How many churches have run their pastor off, only to find that they got what they wanted – but they lost what they had!
Here’s a novel concept – let’s let the pastor be the pastor. Perhaps rather than picking apart his family, his preaching and his personality, let’s instead do a little more praying for, praising, and supporting him.
We need to get the trouble OUT – Recently in Switzerland, the Hadron Collider, a 17 mile superconducting machine designed to smash protons together at close to the speed of light, had a mechanical failure that caused it to be temporarily shut down.
When the cause of the failure was investigated, it was found that a small rodent – probably a weasel – had gnawed through some electrical wires. Incredibly, a tiny mammal had managed to shut down the world’s most powerful scientific instrument.
For too long, many of our churches have tolerated noisy troublemakers in their midst. Power hungry and rebellious, they put their own agenda ahead of God’s plan for the church with an “It’s my way or the highway” attitude. Usually, it’s not a huge number – but just one or two left unchecked can do immeasurable damage to the church and the cause of Christ.
Please don’t misunderstand me – I am not talking about Godly, well meaning Church members who have legitimate concerns and who handle them Biblically. I am talking about hateful and mean-spirited rabble rousers who thrive on controversy and confrontation.
Our churches will never be all that God intended them to be until such people are confronted and dealt with. And yes, sometimes a “back-door revival” is necessary.
It’s time we dealt with the weasels in the church.
We need to bring the lost IN – I walked in to the sanctuary this past Sunday morning at the Church I was starting revival in and sat down on the front row.
All of a sudden, folks headed towards me from every area of the auditorium with big smiles on their faces. Everyone in the choir turned in my direction and were grinning from ear to ear.
Just when I thought to myself, “this has to be the friendliest church I have ever attended”, all those folks that were headed my way went right on past me to a baby carrier in the next pew.
You see, a family in the church was bringing their newborn baby to church for the first time. Both sets of grandparents also attended the church, and it was the first grandchild for all of them. Needless to say, there was an excitement in the air as folks lined up down the aisles to take pictures, utter “ooh’s and aah’s”, and give congratulations.
As I watched a crowd still gathered around this family even after the church service had come to an end, I had this thought: there’s nothing like a new baby to bring excitement to the church house!
Once a God called Pastor is serving in his proper place in the church, and once the church members are all on board with the vision of the church, then the atmosphere is right to bring some lost folks to church and see them won to Christ.
No plan can revitalize a church faster or more effectively than a soul winning plan!
Why? Because new life brings excitement to the house of God!
I believe if we follow these three steps, we can see real revival come to our churches.
Will it be easy? No. Will the process at times be painful? Yes, no doubt.
But is it worth it? The answer is, emphatically, YES!
Just ask my wife.