Revive Us, Oh God

Reality is an Adrenalin Rush

Monday is for Discussion

Reality is a significant adrenalin rush when it smacks you in the face. Here’s reality on the US church planting scene.

  1. We are failing to reach our children with the gospel.
  2. Most believers never share the gospel with another person.
  3. Most churches (80%) are plateaued or declining.
  4. Most church plants grow not by reaching new people but by picking up disgruntled believers from other churches.
  5. Many established churches lack any kingdom vision and instead are fighting turf wars and running programs for selfish saints.
  6. Leadership in many churches is so tightly controlled that emerging leaders are frustrated and under-utilized for the kingdom.
  7. Most believers can not define what a disciple is or how the church makes disciples. Worse, pastors and elders in American churches give barely better answers.
  8. One survey indicated that nearly 50% of twenty-somethings in evangelical churches believe that Jesus may have sinned during his earthly life.
  9. Most churches rely more on advertising and marketing than they do personal witnessing for their growth.
  10. The church seems to be asleep and just continues to do business as usual.

When will reality catch up with us and give the adrenalin rush we need so that we drop to our knees, repent and cry out to God for revival?

Aside: for documentation on any of these 10 points, consult the following:
America Church in Crisis
Reveal
Viral Churches


9 thoughts on “Revive Us, Oh God

  1. So we push each other till it hurts…men sharpen other men, and if one or two or three of us get ticked along the way, back off a little but not too much, because we are not running an everybody be happy parade. We are really at war and should be in the trenches getting shot at by both snipers and the opposing infantry at the same time.

    And many of us, when we are in the trenches, when we get put under pressure, we blow…we get mad. So if we are not getting mad we may not be in the fox holes, but AWOL on some beach soaking in the rays not that far from the fox holes. (It is not likely for most of us that if we are not mad we are just really right with Jesus)

    I need to be in more situations that make me mad. I need to join my brothers in places I do not want to be.
    Yeah, God is sovereign, and it is OK to be mad, too. That is all scripture melted in the rubber that has met the road. Thanks for a little shove. I’m headed back to the trenches…just need to shake a little sand out of my towel.

    and pastors, when i get there, and get mad and a little frustrated, instead of telling me ‘God is Sovereign, (don’t get my underwear tied up in knots), let my anxiety level alone, for a while anyway, and show me how to tie a tourniquet and how to shoot better with shells exploding all around me. And accept the fact that i am going to get a few battle scars, cause that is what happens to people in the trenches…and do not shun me when i get them…or allow the congregation of sandy towelers to shun me without comment.

    and if i kill one of my own, by accident, (tears) you got to show me how to deal with it, not put me in front of the firing squad, cause that happens in battle, and God is Sovereign in those cases, too. …

    Maybe, for us as men, maybe we can just start pushing on each other till it hurts…

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    1. Bob,

      We are at war against sin in our lives. I hear your passion brother. But remember, we are at war with sin in our lives. We are taking captive every thought raised up against the knowledge of God.

      But we are not Muslims. Unbelievers are not our enemies but men and women to whom we must loving represent and proclaim the cross, and yes, sometimes at great risk to our well being or our place in society.

      Jim Elliff just put out a great tweet as a reminder: “You must have the demeanor of an ambassador if you carry the message of reconciliation. 2 Co 5”

      Pray, God will guide the passionate heart truly yielded to Him.

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  2. P. S.

    2 and 9 – One-on-one evangelism is incredibly offensive, not only because of the nature of the message itself, but because of the individualistic, pluralistic cultural climate. Efforts that intend to “build bridges” (or in D. Fitch’s words, “on ramps”) between the lost world and the community of faith are attempts to create a “safe distance” across which the gospel can be communicated. Face-to-face, individual evangelism is often much too threatening to “the face” of the other. In a society where the name of Jesus and His Church are not at least casually known, evangelists do not bear the burden of overcoming the baggage of preconceptions, (false) familiarity, and deeply-ingrained negative stereotypes. As it is, the Church’s efforts in (re)evangelizing previously “Christianized” societies must be largely centered around dispelling these stereotypes. We do this by living the Kingdom life collectively and individually, letting people see the Body of Christ “up close,” proving the true character of Christ over against mass media portrayals (some of which are accurate).

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    1. Beth asks a good question below, but I have another one. The fact that “one-to-one evangelism is offensive” is not necessarily a reason to never engage in it. D. Fitch’s “on ramps” are not bad. They are just not enough.

      Completely agree with your last sentence. But it is still a both/and not an either/or. See all of my discussions on being intensely local.

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      1. I certainly wouldn’t advocate “never” engaging in it… only not pushing the envelope, so to speak, engaging in conversational tactics in order to speed up the work of the Spirit. I agree that evangelism is both “showing” and “telling,” but would argue that reevangelizing Western society will require a much heavier devotion to gospel demonstration and to public/large group proclamation for the foreseeable future (see my response to Beth, below). There is simply much too much brush to clear before the “fields” will be ready for the level of one-on-one “sowing” that many evangelists (a la Dr. Nyquist) would advocate. And that is true one person at a time as well as in society as a whole.

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  3. Question Matt. I am wondering from your comment if you think that one to one evangelism is something that should happen or should it be avoided in your opinion because it comes across offensively? And maybe, what do you mean by one-to-one evangelism. Do you mean one-to-one with the people we meet and build relationships with or more on the lines of street corner evangelism or something else entirely that I’m missing. Anyways just wondering and trying to understand where you are coming from.

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    1. To answer your first question, no, it mustn’t be avoided. As to your second question, we should absolutely invest as much energy as possible in interpersonal relationships with non-believers. My rub is with the idea that churches will experience rapid conversion growth via one-on-one evangelism of any sort. At best, this may happen in spurts in economically depressed areas through a handful of very gifted evangelists. These evangelists have tried to pass their techniques on to those of us who are less gifted, with little success.

      In my experience, windows through which to naturally, authentically (unmanipulatively) share the gospel with non-believers take a lot of relational cultivation and time to get open. In areas with populations that are highly averse to Christians and the Church, breaking down the walls of hostility requires much diligence and patience. Lots of interpersonal engagement, lots of gospel “preaching” through actions (individual and collective), and lots of explicit gospel preaching in larger group settings (events, worship gatherings).

      Hope that makes more sense. Feedback?

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