From time to time, I work with a church on LRM survey data. While pouring over data and statistics is not an “exciting” way to serve, it is still a privilege to be able to study the health of a particular Body of Christ and consider possible options for getting stronger.
A recent phone consultation itself was interesting. There are details I cannot share, but the conversation was good and the leaders asked many questions that were focused on spiritual growth and outreach. And, to me, that is what it is ALL about. The ABC’s (Attendance, Building, and Cash) are barometers of health, but NOT the goal.
The heart of Lay Renewal continues to be focused on serving the Church as it renews, motivates, and equips men and women for ministry. We believe in the Power of the Holy Spirit working through God’s living and active Word so that people are strengthened in their faith and walking forward to share the Gospel Message of salvation through Christ alone. The world may focus on “bigger is better” but we know that DEEPER is best!
Consider for a moment what happened in China in early September. Christianity Today and other news sources have reported increasing hostile persecution. For example, on September 5th, police raided a church and burned Bibles, furniture, and crosses. On the 9th, the government shut down the largest church in Beijing. Why? They refused to have cameras installed that would allow services to be monitored. China is also considering a series of rules and restrictions for the Internet that would block faith forums, streaming services and more.
How can the Church in China survive? Through deeper faith.
Voice of the Martyrs shares the stories of persecution in Nigeria. Pastor Silas was attacked and killed by Fulani herdsmen. Pastor Vincent was also killed when the church he served was attacked. The wife of Pastor Jacob and six church members were killed during a church attack. There are now over 7,500 people living in refugee camps.
How will the Church in Nigeria survive? Through deeper faith.
The examples of persecution and suffering around the globe are shocking and tragic. And yet, as some churches focus on the ABC’s, the true mission of the Church is found in striving to fulfill the Great Commission. The true mission is found as we go deeper into relationship with God and love others more deeply through His strength!
So, why is the definition of the word “persnickety” at the top of this letter?
When we work with a church in the Process of Renewal, the survey portion can be a risky time. It requires looking inwardly to see how the church family is growing spiritually and reaching out to impact the community. It requires the leadership spending some time examining how they are serving and supporting through their roles. There can be some incredibly convicting information produced before, during, and after this step. Truthfully, some people can be rather persnickety as they attempt to ignore crucial information and push the trivial to the top.
The blessings come when churches are honestly willing to assess how God is calling them to deeper faith. The blessings come when churches are committed to considering what they have done, what they are doing, and what God is calling them to do in the future. And the blessings aren’t found in the ABC’s. The blessings are found in deeper faith – renewed men and women who are seeking to do more for Christ and Kingdom!
Yours in Christ,