Churches need Spirit & Truth
When you see so many fellowships working so hard to stay viable, despite the last few decades of intense resourcing on church growth and leadership principles, do you ever wonder what is missing?
We are now smarter at training, better at discipleship, slick at marketing, and high-tech in people management. We have websites, apps, social media campaigns and conferences.
The New testament church had none of this and yet exploded in numbers and impact. We can’t blame science or the age of reason for our stagnation. People have always pushed-back at the apologetic of the gospel. Just look at Paul’s experience in Athens. Neither can we blame morality or social temperature. The world has never been a place of high-morals this side of the fall.
The state of the world isn’t the reason churches lack vitality and impact. If we deal with all the other much-discussed issues like leadership skills, church health, community engagement, and the creation of great services and programs, we are left gazing at one slightly embarrassing deficit – a lack in the transformative impact of God’s grace on people’s lives.
People look at our lives and can say “You are just like me, but with religion“.
We should baulk at that because a Christian is fundementally different to a non-Christian. The presence of Christ within is the ultimate game-changer. Paul rebuked those believers who had the same dysfunction as the world, saying “Are you not acting like mere humans?” (1 Cor.3:3)”
The only way the church of Christ can cease to prevail, is if there is not enough of Christ’s actual influence in His people. As A.W. Tozer acutely reminds us: “The world is perishing for lack of the knowledge of God and the Church is famishing for want of His Presence.”(1)
Week-by-week faithful church-goers long to meet God profoundly within the grind of their lives. They give of their finance and time, and they strive to be a faithful witness.
And yet the huge majority have not experienced the transforming reality of God in their recent history. They carry the same fears, trauma, insecurities, and lack of daily purpose as those who don’t have Christ living within.
As a pastor of a local church I need to own the fact that this is an unacceptable realty. And it is one that lies squarely on the shoulders of Christian leaders to address. Matt Chandler mourned that he was the theological orphan of two arguing parents – reformers and charismatics. It is beyond time to bring those parents together again.
But not only must we demonstrate and facilitate the work of Christ in the lives of our people, we must experience it in our own lives. The trouble is, we learn so little of practical use in this regard at seminary.
And to be honest, there are so few examples of churches experiencing a credible, safe and thorough work of God throughout their fellowship, we might doubt it is possible.
It is possible, however. More than that, it can be inevitable that the testimonies of God’s presence at work to transform lives, house-holds, workplaces and communities are heard. It can happen in any life, and any church that has a hunger for it.
This site is dedicated to helping you discover a life of Spirit and Truth. The materials and courses here will give you many of the tools you need to create a culture where God can work more thoroughly and consistently in your church and community.
Every life and fellowship is unique – that must remain. And yet every church can experience a new level of vibrancy and God-ness too.
Look through the resources and articles here – I am sure we can help you rediscover Christ in you, the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27)
Patrick Hegarty – Founder: Spirit and Truth
- W.Tozer, The Pursuit of God: The Human Thirst for the Divine