Sunday, January 20, 2013

Two Big Pictures, Two Renewals

I had a phone call the day before yesterday from a dear friend. Someone from the church I just left. She said some very kind things about my essential role in praying for revival in that church and lamented that they hadn't prayed more for me personally so that thus supported, I wouldn't have had to leave. At the time of the call another ministry was hosting a revival conference in the same building and she was reporting good things from that conference. It appears that even though the conference was not a function of the church the church is being blessed by it. Well and good. But if I had been properly protected, she said, I might have been able to see the "big picture" of revival and not be troubled by the trifling concerns of the running of the church.

 Well, I have to say that there are two big pictures. There are even two renewals. One big picture is as my friend sees it. Organization, structural concerns are nothing if only God's Spirit is moving and there is the blessing of spiritual renewal poured out on the church. I have to say that I have lived in this big picture for years, myself, and for me to do what I have done and leave the church on the leaders poor performance is a bit of a departure. But I've learned there is another big picture out there. It has to do with promoting safety and good governance for the people we care about now and those who come after. You can't always overlook stuff in the hopes that when God moves it won't matter because all the small stuff will be blown away. And renewal, the showers of blessing that we long for, needs to bear good fruit in our church leadership. Too often in the course of these conferences, have speakers brought up the titled leaders in the church, abusive and ineffective, or servant-hearted and competent -- the speaker doesn't really know -- and invited everyone to bless them, because from them will flow the blessing on the rest us. Mostly it's an exercise in false affirmation. I'd like to see a conference speaker, for once, invite the leaders to examine themselves to see if they really should be leading. It won't happen, of course. Incoming speakers are dependent on existing leaders for their presence in a church. But if they did and if that actually did cause some of them to step down, that would be a different kind of renewal, and equally necessary.

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