For the last two Sundays our church met on Sunday night in our fellowship hall to discuss revitalization. Our Director of Missions, Robby Smith, of the Catawba River Baptist Association energetically presented the idea of church revitalization in sobering but inspiring ways.
This has me thinking about the idea of revitalization. What is it? At the root of the term we get the word vital, as in vitality or vital signs, which mean life and signs of life respectively. What are the signs of life for a church or a Christian? Here are some signs of life that I expect to see in a church.
- Vibrant worship celebrating the glory and grace of God while we’re together and while we’re apart form one another.
- Discipleship that helps people move along a spectrum from non-believer to fully committed follower of Jesus Christ.
- Loving and serving one another and our community by making a difference in the lives of the members of the church, their families, and our community and world.
Let’s take a look at these three things.
Church Revitalization: Vibrant Worship
Vibrant worship is important while we’re together as a church family and while we’re apart. That includes a celebratory feel that lifts up the spirits of the worshipper by pointing them to the glory and grace of Jesus Christ. God is worthy and if we properly point people to Him, then we’ll clearly see how great He is and this will inspire us to want to serve him and live for him the rest of that day and into the coming week.
People won’t worry about what they sound like when they sing. They will sing out with joy. They will listen attentively to the Scripture read and the message preached. They will enjoy being together and won’t spend their time wishing they could get out of their and go eat. Noon won’t be a deadline, but just another minute in their Sunday.
This will translate to a life lived for the glory of God throughout the week as they try to honor him in their alone time and while they interact with their circles of influence.
Church Revitalization: Discipleship
The right kind of discipleship sees every person alive as a potential Christ-follower. It will work hard to move every person within reach of the church from a non-believer to a committed follower of Jesus. This will include the church working to do this as a team and the members of the church doing this on their own throughout their week.
Look for chances to invite people, not to church, but to Jesus. Church is a good start, but Jesus is the end while church serves as the means to the end. Remember this process moves people from unbeliever to Christ-follower.
We think about unbelievers and how they will respond to coming to our building on Sunday. This starts in the parking lot and continues through the foyer and to their seat. It keeps going through the worship service and out the door afterwards until they leave our building and go eat and then home.
A discipleship-centered church will keep teaching people and after they get baptized and help them invite their friends and circles of influence to follow Jesus and become disciple makers.
Church Revitalization: Loving Others
As we move around in life we will love other people. We will love our fellow church members and our friends. We will love the people at work, the server at the restaurant and the person who changes our oil.
Why do we love them? We love them, not because we’re trying to get them into our church, but because we just love people. Jesus loves people and we love Jesus and want to be like Jesus. Jesus had compassion on people, the Gospels say repeatedly.
Help people who are hurting. Pray for them. Give them an ear to complain, a should on which to cry and an arm placed around them in a hug. All of this helps them feel like an important person in spite of feeling like a broken person who feels guilty for doubting God’s love. That wavering faith is strengthened by our love.
We challenge people who do not know the love of God or feel certain it doesn’t exist to consider the love of a self-sacrificial Savior. This is not to defeat them in an argument, but to transform them into a beloved brother or sister. The goal is not our own self-aggrandizing pride, but their hurting heart needing to experience the cleansing and recreation of Christ.
How Are We Doing?
So how are we doing at High Peak Baptist Church? That’s what Sunday nights are all about over the next four weeks. Robby Smith wants to help us ask the tough questions and find the right strategy to experience Church Revitalization! Come join us and think about these three things as you do.