I started today in Luke 3 and then on our daily prayer call. Here are a couple of thoughts in light of those as well as an article I read last night that is helping me process how to “Do church” going forward.
Revival and Harvest
In Luke 3 we get John the Baptist being “activated” for ministry. (Sorry, I’m a recovering Trekkie) “The word of God came to John...in the wilderness.” He was there preparing and waiting on the Lord to release him. This is when that happens.
“He went into all the country...preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.” (3:3)
God sent him out from his personal retreat and revival into the harvest where he would "show and tell" the good news that the kingdom of God was coming. He was preparing the way for the King to come.
Luke then quotes the prophet Isaiah who wrote around 700 years earlier about the one who would prepare the way (John) so that, “All people will see God’s salvation.” (3:6)
Salvation comes when God’s people "show and tell" his story and his glory to our neighbors. This is our calling: to multiply disciple-makers (xDM) around the corner and around the world.
Prayer: Oh Lord, revive our hearts so that we see our neighbors as you do and are moved by compassion to reach out to them with the love of Christ.
It has become clear to me that not only do we have to change the way we “do church” going forward but that we will not go back to the way things were when the viral dust settles.
And that will be a good thing.
This article on Carey Nieuwhof’s blog is a great inspiration to brainstorming how our gathering(s) might change. https://careynieuwhof.com/8-ways-to-lead-in-the-new-digital-default-church/
One principle that was not in the article, but worth thinking through, is the need to think like the early (first century) church. They had overwhelming needs as the Jesus movement grew exponentially. In addition, they were inundated by the poor. There were wealthy people coming to Christ too, as God sovereignly provided for the early church financially. But think about the lack of real healthcare. So they learned to turn to God for healing. And he healed. Some lost everything (financially, socially, religiously) when they trusted the Lord and were baptized. They turned to God for provision. And he provided for them too.
This speaks to our methods too. They did not have the means to communicate on a large scale. So how did the early church grow?
Word of mouth. They talked to the people in their personal networks. They talked to people where they lived, worked and played. They talked to people in their circle of influence. They communicated using what they already had—their social networks.
For them, it was speaking. For us, it is speaking and/or writing using a variety of tools and means to do so.
The key was that they spoke. They played “show and tell” with the world.
And so must we.
We must share the good news that this world is broken and hopeless apart from faith in a Creator-Savior-King who is making all things new and will come back to complete that one day. We must share the good news that he’s making things new every day.
Why don’t we do this more? Because our heart is not completely full of compassion for our neighbors yet. This is where revival comes in.
Revival is for God’s people who do not have his full heart for the lost yet. So we pray and ask God to revive us—to wake us up.
Then we speak into the harvest.
He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. -Jesus, Luke 10:2 NIV