I’m researching how churches get stuck and I’m learning… nothing really new. As I suspected, it starts with each of us as individuals.
Are we each transformed? Has God gotten a hold of our life and transformed us with the gospel? Have we let Him transform us? Do people notice there’s something different about us? Or do we blend right into our culture? Are we quite content to live our lives relying on our own strength and seeking fulfillment in things other than God? Do we come to church expecting to be entertained and to feel good, rather than worshiping God and thanking Him for what He has done through us the past week? Once we take our focus off of God and onto ourselves, we slowly die and dwindle. But if we allow God to transform us, every thought and action begins to change, our values and attitudes change. We start to change from living for ourselves to dying to ourselves. Soon, our life focuses solely on the mission of Christ and not on us. Amazing things happen… and not because of us, but because we rely on the Holy Spirit and let Him use us to fill in the cracks.
After we are individually transformed, the church becomes the gathering of transformed people to hear the gospel, worship, and then… scatter… to participate (key word) in God’s mission. We don’t live the rest of the week in selfish survival mode but in seeking how we can scatter and minister to those in our communities. We, the church, are God’s chosen instrument to spread the gospel. We are called to be His people engaged in His mission to carry His message into our culture and every culture.
We must individually be transformed – our thoughts, actions, attitudes, and values. This of course requires us to be open to being transformed. Then we gather together and worship… and then we go and scatter… spreading the Gospel! That’s when a church is moving forward.
(I’m reading “Transformational Church” by Ed Stetzer)