Church Renewal – Church Revitalization

Over the last few years we have heard a lot about revitalization.  The question was posed to me this weekend about how we get the church to understand the urgency of revitalization, and I have been pondering the question ever since.  Revitalize means to refresh, revive, or renew and many of us are content to stay right where we are, doing exactly what we have been doing. We don’t want our church to change, we want it the same way it was when we were children.  Too many people, like a loaf of bread that has set on a shelf too long, have grown stale, and unfortunately, we don’t even realize our own spiritual condition.  Christians slowly dying and totally oblivious to the fact that they are no longer making a difference in a world that needs God

In Psalms 51: 10 it says, “Create in me a clean heart, oh God, and renew a steadfast spirit.”  This is the foundation of the Church Renewal Journey.  Often, we the laity are content to sit on the pews of our churches, when it is convenient, and let others do the work.  In Ephesians 2: 10 the scripture tells us that “We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus, for a work he has prepared for us in advance”.   This comes right after we have been told how to be saved, how to become a Jesus follower.   God has called, gifted and equipped every child of his, every Jesus follower, to be a tool in the Master’s hand.  We are commanded to “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.  And surely I am with you always to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20 (NIV).

Until we repent, and turn from our sins, we cannot be revitalized.  Trying to revitalize a church by painting the exterior, cleaning the carpet stains and giving it a complete structural face lift will not change the hearts of the people.  Christ, and Christ alone, must come into our lives like a fresh wind, pouring out His spirit upon us and replacing our selfish stubborn spirit with his love.   When we fall in love with Jesus we will again have a sense of urgency to see unbelievers come to Jesus.

Church Renewal Journey is a discipleship tool that points to Jesus and the calling upon our lives as the children of God.  It points us to the cross, helps us identify how God has equipped us to serve him, and shows us the seriousness of being his follower.  Through learning about kingdom focused prayer, we can start praying for the spiritual needs of people, seeing people as Jesus sees them and releasing our life to Christ.  In Acts 1:8, it says, “when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, you WILL be my witnesses…”    Let’s face it, when we have a fresh encounter with our Lord and Savior we cannot remain where we are, content to let people die in their sins, without trying to do what God has called us to do.

Church Renewal is the foundation of Church Revitalization.  Sounds simple, but it is one of the hardest things we will ever do as we allow God to make us into his likeness.  It may be painful when God begins to mold and shape us to be like him, but the reward is to see lives changed and people thirsting for the Word of God.  People falling in love with Jesus, seeking the truth of God and no longer content to sit in the bleachers, but wanting to be on the field, doing what God has called us to be will bring renewal and church revitalization.

 

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