“The words ‘I’m too busy’ and ‘I don’t have enough time’ reflect an inner attitude. Great men and women never give the impression of being too busy, but rather appear to be quite at leisure.”\r\n\r\nSo said Oswald Saunders.\r\n\r\nI wonder if that’s true of great churches? That is, great churches never give the impression of being too busy, but rather appear to be quite at leisure.\r\n\r\nOr perhaps it’s the other way around: a great church is one that is full of people who are never too busy and have enough time?\r\n\r\nI wonder what that looks like?
At the end of an evening with colleagues I fell into conversation with a friend. Our discussion moved surprisingly quickly into deep areas with high level of personal reflection.\n\nAs we were about to go our different ways the other person stopped me and said, ‘let’s pray’. And she prayed for me.\n\nThe following week I spent an afternoon with a group of colleagues working on a particular project. At the end of the afternoon I fell into conversation with a friend. Our discussion moved surprisingly quickly into areas with high levels of personal reflection.\n\nAs we were about to go our different ways the other person stopped me and said, ‘let’s pray’. And she prayed for me.\n\nThat made me think.\n\nTwo women who pray spontaneously.\n\nWhy don’t I pray at the drop of a hat like that?
Most church outreach activities are not catalysts for growth. We think they are.\r\n\r\nWhen we create ‘messy church’ for example, we are hoping that by providing a new kind of church service to accommodate families we will create the essential catalyst for church growth through families.\r\n\r\nIt will not.\r\n\r\nWe have created something good, to be sure, and it has great opportunity to grow, but in itself it is not a catalyst for growth. In fact, in a church with limited resources, especially limited numbers of competent leaders, many new initiatives will become regular events that use up valuable resources.\r\n\r\nThe catalyst for church growth is the gospel empowered by the Spirit. It is the Spirit who brings life, not the church, and certainly not a new format.\r\n\r\nIn fact, the model for growth is not the first church, but it is first the resurrection.
There’s Outreach Galore in our churches.\r\n\r\nTiddlers. Toddlers.\r\n\r\nYoung people. Old people.\r\n\r\nMen’s Breakfasts. Mothers Union.\r\n\r\nCoffee Mornings. Concert Evenings.\r\n\r\nAnd then there are occasional offices. Weddings. Baptisms. Funerals.\r\n\r\nAnd yet.\r\n\r\nThe church isn’t growing. Generally.\r\n\r\nAnd why?\r\n\r\nBecause it’s not outreach that grows the church, but the gospel of the resurrection told with the power of the resurrection.\r\n\r\nAnd somehow\r\n\r\n… we forgot to mention the gospel when the opportunity arose.
Number of Flyers given out: 500\r\n\r\nNumber of Press releases: 1\r\n\r\nNumber of People who became Christians through this church this year: 0
No one whose senses have been exercised to know good or evil can but grieve over the sight of zealous souls seeking to be filled with the holy spirit while they are living in a state of moral carelessness and borderline sin.
Whoever would be indwelt by the spirit must judge his or her life for any hidden iniquities.
[They] must expel from [their] heart everything that is out of accord with the character of God as revealed by the Holy Scriptures …
There can be no tolerance of evil, no laughing off the things that God hates.
A W Tozer
“It is the mark of a grown-up man, as compared with a callow youth, that he finds his centre of gravity wherever he happens to be at the moment, and however much he longs for the object of his desire, it cannot prevent him from staying at his post and doing his duty,”\n\nDietrich Bonhoffer