As I preach here and overseas in Eastern Europe I often say that we should stop praying for revival. To revive means to breathe life into that which is dead. If the Church is dead – do what you do with dead things – bury it. And, in this case, then pray for a resurrection. We don’t need a revival – we need an honest-to-goodness resurrection from spiritual death. Jesus said, “If a grain of wheat is planted and dies…”
To resurrect a spiritually dead church so that it becomes the church of my dreams three things need to happen according to Bill Easum…
- The church needs a new pastor – either the current pastor experiences a personal resurrection or the church actually gets a new pastor.
- Next is the resurrection of the leaders of the church either by transformation or replacement.
- Finally, the church itself is resurrected and turned around through some tactical change.
Looking at all of that and both the time and the work it will take to resurrect a spiritually dead church (see my main web site – resources section – for what a spiritually dead church might look like) makes me wonder if it is simply not easier to walk down the street and start again. You know, get a few people born again and begin to work with people who have never known “church life,” “church as usual,” and are open to doing whatever the Holy Spirit tells them to do regardless. People willing to dream God’s dream.
This dream church would have the following main features:
- The church would have an outward focus with its people spending more time with non-believers and in the community than going to church meetings and events
- Jesus, not the institution, would be the object of affection for those who belong to this group
- The Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20) would be the mandate or marching orders and they would measure everything they do by how many new converts they make rather than whether the finances were in the black
- Membership in the Kingdom will be more important than membership in the church
- The leader will cease being a chaplain of pastoral care and will become a modern-day equipper of the saints to do the work of the ministry (Ephesians 4:11-15)
- Those who try to control the church or intimidate the church at every turn of the road will be shown the door immediately
But then again this too will be hard work because this flies in the face of basic human nature which is selfish and self-centered. But, it appears to me to be less work than trying to resurrect a dead church unless it really wants to enter into new life.
Either way the leader would need first to focus on himself and their own spiritual walk with the Lord. If this is not renewed, refreshed, revived, resurrected and brimming with God’s life then neither resurrecting a spiritually dead church nor working with a group of new converts is going to be effective. The resurrected church will never happen until the leader has experienced a personal resurrection.