Subscribe to the Blog and Get the Free eBook!
The 5 Steps to Revitalize Your Church
The Proven Path to Increase Your Church’s Growth and Impact

Subscribe & Download Now!

Do We Really Want Church to Return to Normal?

Jul 22, 20
JMorgan
, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
11 comments

What we need is revival.  Our nation is ripe for spiritual renewal.  Our culture has been accelerating headlong in the other direction since the turn of the millennium.  There are signs that Selfism is already breaking down.  The end of that road, making yourself your own god, is Nihilism – nothingness.  Suicides, substance abuse and rampant immorality has been the outcome of seeking happiness and fulfillment in the absence of God.  Misplaced faith in science and government is diminishing as once-deified leaders struggle to understand the COVID-19 disease and protect citizens, revealing the limitations of the ultimate object of atheists’ worship – human intellect.  Doors are flung open right now to spiritual conversations.  Neighbors are scared and opportunities abound for Christians to step forward to provide prayer, compassion and answers to their difficult questions.

Yet what most churches are seeking today in this time of crisis isn’t revival, but survival.  Big “C” (universal Church) interests are taking a back seat to little “c” (individual church) sustainability.  Pastors worry about how to navigate a potential “new normal”.  They’re stressed – many just trying to figure out how and when to reopen.  Few can look past those minute details to consider the bigger picture – like why their members were more concerned with self-preservation than self-sacrifice on behalf of those who were ready to hear some Good News – but never did.

How can we return to business as usual when the Church’s growth, impact, influence and public perception has been in such rapid decline?  Isn’t this the perfect time to rethink America’s building and event-centric model for conventional church?  This blog has been questioning that status quo for 5 years, advocating a return to the biblical definition of church and its intended “customer”.  If America’s churches had followed that advice, the response from church leaders and congregants during the pandemic and pandemonium would have been vastly different.  A revival already could have been taking place right now if Christians thought of themselves as the embodiment of “church” and took it upon themselves to bring “church” to the doorsteps, iPhones and Zooms of their struggling neighbors.

However, revitalization consultants are reinforcing the status quo, providing advice within the context of “Church as We Know It” (CAWKI).  They understand that few pastors are truly interested in rethinking existing models.  Most are praying hard that the virus will go away as soon as possible, disregarding the possibility that the pandemic could be God’s will to wake our nation and His Church from its slumber.  Even those who claim to want genuine change are highly likely to revert to their comfort zones as soon as a vaccine is discovered.  Church strategists understand that we seem to have little choice in the matter.  There are simply too many empty buildings and too many pastors trained by seminaries to do one job and one job only – run a conventional church.  It’s too late to turn back now, right?  How could we risk shifting more responsibility to members for evangelism and compassion when churches desperately need them to return to the building as quickly as possible – and to bring their friends with them?  Decentralizing by equipping disciples to make more disciples at a time like this could hasten the demise of a fragile “nickel and nose” model that hinges on centralization and dependency.

Just as we shouldn’t expect a process designed for church indoctrination to produce personal transformation, strategies designed to ensure church survival shouldn’t be expected to produce revival…

Roots of Spiritual Revival

Evangelist Charles Finney, credited for much of America’s “Second Great Awakening,” said,

“If there is a decay of conscience, the pulpit is responsible for it. If the public press lacks moral discernment, the pulpit is responsible for it. If the church is degenerate and worldly, the pulpit is responsible for it. If the world loses its interest in Christianity, the pulpit is responsible for it. If Satan rules in our halls of legislation, the pulpit is responsible for it. If our politics become so corrupt that the very foundations of our government are ready to fall away, the pulpit is responsible for it.”

After visiting America in 1831, the same year of Finney’s famed Rochester Revival, Alexis de Tocqueville wrote in Democracy in America,

“There is no country in the world where the Christian religion retains a greater influence over the souls of men than in America; and there can be no greater proof of its utility and of its conformity to human nature than that its influence is powerfully felt over the most enlightened and free nation of the earth.”

God is His infinite wisdom and power can accomplish all things, but America’s history of spiritual revivals points to 7 characteristics that are clearly evident in churches whenever our nation has recommitted to following Jesus:

  1. Prayerful – Unity of believers gathered in prayer, asking God to forgive sins and change hearts
  2. Repentant – Mass recognition and confession of sin, pledging obedience to the Lord’s commands
  3. Dependent – Trading “cultural” for authentic Christianity, humbly giving God all glory and credit
  4. Spirit-Led – Miracles that can only be attributable to the Holy Spirit’s presence and activity
  5. Imperishable – Shared, eternal perspective that endures suffering, knowing our future is secure
  6. Scriptural – Reverential study of God’s Word to understand and share about the life of Jesus
  7. Sacrificial – Acts of selfless, Agape love without expectation of recognition or reciprocation

Those elements found in most revivals do not align with the advice found in articles and webinars today about how pastors should adapt their churches to new realities during and after the Coronavirus pandemic…

Popular Strategies for Church “Revitalization”

A deep concern about the state of the universal (capital “C”) Church would lead to changes that could bring revival, but authors and consultants are promulgating a set of (little “c”) strategies that won’t rectify the shortcomings of America’s prevailing church growth model – flaws that have become readily apparent over the past few months.  Instead they primarily advocate the following 7 principles:

  1. Leadership – Clarity about how a church will deal with the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic
  2. Vision – Get everyone, from staff to key members, on board with future plans and contingencies
  3. Accountability – Delegate and execute responsibilities within distancing constraints
  4. Engagement – Rebuild, train and (re)activate volunteers, ministries, program leaders and groups
  5. Outreach – Create seasonal events and ads that enhance brand recognition in the community
  6. Hospitality – Once visitors respond and show up, ensure they feel at home online and in person
  7. Virtual – Continue to enhance “digital discipleship”, which is essentially just streaming services online

In other words, revitalization pitches and promises touted today are built around about getting CAWKI back up and running smoothly again.  Few call for reformation to address the discipleship deficiencies brought to light by COVID-19 when the “church gathered” forcibly became the “church scattered”…

Real Church Reform Could Spark Revival

The pandemic and pandemonium in America should lead to church reform, an entirely different set of operating principles and metrics that are in sync with the 7 characteristics of revival listed earlier in this post.  However, the path to a spiritual revival will require pastors do what they’re commanded (in Scripture) and not what their being taught (in seminary and articles).

  1. Prayer – Turn churches back into 24×7 houses of prayer, worship, compassion and service
  2. Repentance – Imitate Jesus, Paul, Peter and John the Baptist by boldly calling all to turn from sin
  3. Dependence – Make sold-out disciples through intentional, personal relationships rather than “consumers” of religious goods and services through expensive strategies and programs
  4. Spirit-Led – Equip and commission fully-empowered individuals to minister to their circles of influence, leveraging the Lord’s math of multiplication instead of building-centric addition
  5. Imperishable – Challenge believers to die to self-interest and surrender, crucified with Christ
  6. Scriptural – Reemphasize personal study, journaling and apologetics to share Christ effectively
  7. Sacrificial – Deploy Prayer-Care-Share “missionaries” throughout the city, acting as pastors of their neighborhoods

Lord willing, revival will come when reform leads to a reversion to the biblical definition of “church” and its intended “customer” – to make disciples who reach the “lost” in the community and across the globe.  Tactical “revitalization” won’t bring revival because it will remain centered around a building, event and pastor – a model proven ineffective before and during this pandemic and racial strife.

It’s Your Turn…

Do you know of a church refusing to return to “normal” and undertaking significant reform along the lines we’ve outlined in this post?  Please share how you see that church possibly contributing toward a much-needed revival…

11 Comments

Dolores King-St. Geoege  July 22, 2020 at 1:31 pm

Jim,
I cant tell you how mych I agree with all you said. We must rethink “doing” church like we have in recent years. Oh, Lird bring revival in our land and in us, THE Church!
Blessings,
Dolores

Damian  July 23, 2020 at 9:22 am

Powerful and truthful, Jim. Thanks!

Phil Miglioratti  July 23, 2020 at 4:59 pm

Jim,

Thank you for challenging church leaders to purse transformation “by the renewing of our minds” (how we think).

Timely counsel,
Phil
The #Reimagine FORUM @ http://Reimagine?Network

Angela  July 24, 2020 at 10:07 am

Nice someone is thinking outside the box. Will only work with radical Christ-centeredness. Learning to live by His Life individually and corporately and how to share Him in meetings and with others. When people fall in love with Him they want to pray and share. Otherwise it becomes dead religion.

judi online qiu qiu  August 16, 2020 at 6:50 am

I do accept as true with all the concepts you’ve presented in your post.
They’re very convincing and can certainly work.

Still, the posts are too quick for novices.

Could you please prolong them a little from next time?
Thank you for the post.

judi online kiukiu  August 16, 2020 at 7:11 am

If you desire to increase your experience only keep visiting this web site and be
updated with the latest gossip posted here.

https://edu.readyai.org  August 26, 2020 at 1:41 pm

Does Audible Work?
You take out a free trial of Audible and get a complimentary audiobook.

This really is among those classics or an originals.

At the conclusion of the trial, you can purchase a subscription of Audible.
You have to register to your membership with your Amazon account.

Audible awards with one charge each month. You can take advantage of this credit to buy Audible audio
books in different categories like technology, style, love, social
media, ads, etc..
If you would like to buy books, you can buy Audible
credits or pay-per sound publication.
A member may download just two of six Audible Originals about the first Friday of each month.
They don’t cost any credits. It is possible to
keep these Audible Originals .
You have all Audible books on your library
in the event you cancel your subscription.
It’s possible to listen to Audible audio books anywhere
using apps for your mobile, Windows or Mac computer or Alexa device.|

With more than 300,000 names to its name, Audible is the world’s biggest vendor and manufacturer of audiobooks. https://edu.readyai.org/groups/amazon-gives-away-free-of-cost-one-month-audible-subscription/members/all-members/

The New Era of 24×7 Church | Meet The Need Blog  September 3, 2020 at 1:46 pm

[…] to see is simply a shift from a Walmart “store” experience to a web-based Amazon option.  Do We Really Want Church to Return to Normal or does the Post-Pandemic Church need revival?  For example, studies report the challenges […]

internet design  September 21, 2020 at 7:49 am

After going over a handful of the blog posts on your web
page, I really appreciate your way of blogging. I saved as a favorite it
to my bookmark site list and will be checking
back soon. Take a look at my web site as well and let me know how you feel.

Will the Lord Heal our Land? | Meet The Need Blog  October 1, 2020 at 12:35 pm

[…] that others must follow or risk being “cancelled”.  Even our churches are anxious to get back to normal as soon as a vaccine is discovered or we reach herd immunity, yet “normal” pre-pandemic was a […]

iavapac.org  October 16, 2020 at 10:09 pm

How Does Audible Function?
First, you get a complimentary audiobook and take a trial of Audible .
This could be among even an originals or those classics.

At the end of the trial, you can buy a monthly subscription of Audible.
You want to sign up for the membership.
Audible awards each month. It is possible to use this credit to buy Audible audio books in various categories like
technology, style, romance, social media, advertisements, etc..

If you would like to purchase more books, you can buy more Audible credits or pay
per audio publication.
Interestingly, a member may download just two of six Audible Originals about the first Friday of
each month. They do not cost any credits. It is possible to keep
these Audible Originals forever.
You have all Audible books in your library in case you
cancel your subscription.
You can listen to Audible books anywhere using apps on your
phone, Windows or Mac computer or Alexa apparatus.|

With over 300,000 titles to its name, Audible is the world’s largest
vendor and manufacturer of audiobooks.
Audible Review http://iavapac.org/2020/08/14/is-audible-really-worth-14-95-a-month-yes-however-it-depends/

leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *