We are daring to dream. Preachers discouraged by an apparent lack of response to the Word, imagining together what could happen, what should happen as the Word is preached in our churches. Yesterday we thought about gradual climate change and breakthrough moments in church life. Here are a couple more prompts for pondering and prayer. Imagine if . . .
3. The life injection. I have sat through prayer meetings in struggling churches where people have prayed that the Lord might “bring in a young couple to help us…” Certainly many churches have been helped by the arrival of a keen and helpful new couple or family. Imagine the difference salvation can make to a church! While it is great to receive ready-made church servants who move into the area, how much more exciting to receive newborn believers fresh from their spiritual delivery! When people get saved, they bring mess with them, baggage, issues, interesting perspectives, and lots and lots of joy for a church. Imagine what might happen in your church if God were to suddenly save some local folks. Perhaps people resistant to change might become advocates for change because they care about the nurture of these new believers. Perhaps people apparently dead in their pew might become invigorated by the thrill of seeing people coming to faith in Christ and start to share their faith in Christ. Just as a new baby transforms a home, so a new believer might transform your church. Preach the gospel, preach the Word, God continues to rescue the dead and bring them into the kingdom of the Son whom He loves!
4. The spreading ministry. One of the frustrations many preachers face is the feeling that they are alone. A bit of the Elijah syndrome in a local context. There may be the couple who put out the chairs and the lady who does the flowers, and even a Sunday school teacher or two, but somehow it feels like the burden is all yours. Now imagine if, through your preaching, and your example, and God’s Spirit stirring hearts, you discovered that several of the people in the church are becoming proactive in pastoral care, in counseling, in mentoring, in encouraging, in caring. Maybe nobody wants to preach (who would volunteer for public speaking unless they’re a bit weird anyway?), but imagine the difference it would make if the church had a band of on-fire ministers seeking out others to warm their hearts with the relational grace of the gospel. Imagine that spreading as your preaching fans the flames and the whole church community becoming a community of love and concern and trust and support and care . . . and by this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another . . . and imagine the community overcoming their preconceived ideas and media driven stereotypes and discovering that the church is a place where people really love each other!
Preach the Word, serve the church, look to Christ, don’t give up.