Last night our church had a really good prayer meeting. It was obvious the Spirit was at work in hearts as we spent some time praying for the spiritual needs of our members and for revival to happen in our church. Of course, revival is change. That is the nature of it. Change in heart. Change in behavior. Change in lifestyle. Change in church. We must be on guard as a church that we are not so resistant to changes that we stifle the spirit of revival that is beginning to kindle. It got me thinking about some things we studied in my Evangelism class this semester. My prof, Dr. Dan Crawford shared six characteristics of churches that refuse to change:
1. There's a focus on the church as an institution rather than a focus on the purpose of the church. Will we make our core value "keeping things like we like 'em" or being obedient to the commands of the Lord?
2. There's a focus on the social self-perpetuation rather than a focus on social acceptance. Will we only welcome newcomers to our fellowship if they agree to "blend in"?
3. There's a focus on minority rule rather than a focus on majority rule. Will we have an "us four no more" view to leadership or are we open to other voices that may have new ideas?
4. There's a focus on yesterday's innovation rather than a focus on today's needs and possibilities. Will we just try to go back to old programs that we're fond of or seek to apply the message of Christ to the current context?
5. There's a focus on conservative non-risk taking rather than a focus on creative steps of faith. Will we stop growing in our church because we've stopped growing in our faith?
6. There's a focus on painlessness rather than a focus on hurting together through a tough time. Will we avoid challenges out of fear or will we move forward in faith and let the fellowship of the Body of Christ encourage us through the difficulties?
I added the italicized questions as thoughts that apply to our church right now. We are at a critical juncture. Memorial needs to be a praying church to be in alignment with the Lord's will and we need to be a courageous church to be in obedience with the Lord's will.