A Silent Revival…

A thanks to Teddy for posting this. From: http://davidgore.posterous.com/hoping-for-revival

Hoping for Revival?

There is a constant theme in the sound of the malcontented church-goer… They are always ‘looking for Revival’. They hope for the time when God will intervene and miraculously turn around the flagging fortunes of the contemporary church. While there is nothing wrong with hoping for God’s involvement in the life of the church (surely all true believers believe that God has meaningful interactions with the church), the history of God’s people in scripture suggests that such involvement would almost certainly not lead to revival in the form that it is popularly conceived!

It is far more likely that God’s involvement in the life of the church would radically alter the expression of church to the point that many church-goers might feel the church was being destroyed rather than revived.

As in the days of the exile of Israel from the promised land, or the time of longing for the Messiah at the arrival of Jesus (the first time), the intervention of God issued in a radical reforming of the people of God. Things that had been long held dear where no longer important or meaningful and new things became much more important.

In reality it was a process of refining and clarification. God was reminding the people of what had always been the priorities of the Kingdom – even though those priorities had been long forgotten by the people and their cultural expressions of faith.

My sense is that God is at work reviving the church in allowing the highly dysfunctional church culture that currently predominates church life to be crushed under the weight of it’s own demands. It is no longer life-giving. It no longer speaks of the grace of Christ. It doesn’t set people free to be all that God is calling them to be. It constantly demands to be fed and supported by the resources and lives of the people. This is precisely the opposite of what God intends!

If revival breaks over the church I believe it will be in the form of the breaking of the church as we know it to allow the church of the future to find it’s form. What will the new form be? It will be life-giving. It will speak of the grace of Christ – not just in words but in it’s very being. It will set people free to be all that God is calling them to be. It won’t drain the life and resources of the people but will be a resource to the people. It will be a free, life-giving, grace filled community held together be an innate sense of responsibility that is not imposed but embraced.

An equally important issue is how and by whom the church of the future will be led. Leaders who don’t ‘own’ the people they pastor but who serve them. Leaders who do not rely on their congregation or ministry activity to give them a sense of identity but who know who they are in Christ. Leaders who always remember that it is never their church but always the church of Jesus Christ – and that he is the head of this body.

In the end it is far more about heart attitude than form or expression. There are many forms that can express this heart. Just as any form with an inappropriate heart will not work. We must become more discerning of the hearts of those who seek to ‘minister’ (serve) among us. There is much to learn here!


5 thoughts on “A Silent Revival…

  1. Don’t know if this is happening or not, but I like the post.

    “It is far more likely that God’s involvement in the life of the church would radically alter the expression of church to the point that many church-goers might feel the church was being destroyed rather than revived.”

    Most likely, if people equate church with a particular type/form or movement.

    “My sense is that God is at work reviving the church in allowing the highly dysfunctional church culture that currently predominates church life to be crushed under the weight of it’s own demands. It is no longer life-giving. ”

    I think this happens when a church becomes more focused on sustaining itself and building itself (even including some building funds) rather than serving one another and focusing on Christ. ie: The needs of the organisation become the first priority, rather than the life of the body.

  2. I wonder if he is writing realistically? I am aware the church can never be perfect and that their is a beauty in our inability to be perfect but humble.

    But this bit here does sound very unrealistic. It reminded me of the Hillsong Church Vision poem:

    “What will the new form be? It will be life-giving. It will speak of the grace of Christ – not just in words but in it’s very being. It will set people free to be all that God is calling them to be. It won’t drain the life and resources of the people but will be a resource to the people. It will be a free, life-giving, grace filled community held together be an innate sense of responsibility that is not imposed but embraced.”

    I think it will be persecuted and be exhausted but be more comforted by God just like the early church was.

  3. Yes, there is no doubt he is speaking of an ideal. The form he is referring to can never be like Hillsong, because that is one of the forms that he would be referring to as breaking.

    An ideal won’t be achieved in perfect form, but many forms in their early days are more ideal than they remain later. Over history, church renewals of different kinds have been restorative to the body, even if later they sometimes get bogged down in different ways.

    However, if what he is speaking of here is the breaking with a leadership model involving a controlling hierarchy, and going back to a servant model. One that is focused on encouraging Christians and supporting them in their life spheres beyond the church walls, looking out rather than in. Asking how to empower the congregation rather than how to grow the church. This could be refreshing for many.

    He stresses that responsibility is ’embraced’ rather than ‘imposed’. This means coming from the inside of a person, rather than being imposed from the outside. A more mature type of Christianity than the kind where responsibility is ‘imposed’.

    I guess we’ll see!

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