I know this has taken me a long time, but I do intend to finish the Revival Recap and here we go with three down and two to go. Let me remind us of Dr. Greenway’s definition of revival, which is seeking the heart of God. Using the word heart as an acronym, Dr. Greenway taught us five areas to focus our attention if God were to truly bring revival our way. The first three were Holiness, Excellence, and Anticipation.
Now with the R. The R in heart stands for relevance. Are we real to people who don’t know Christ? Are our methods and strategies being used by God to reach people for Christ in all generations? Are we recognizing where people are spiritually or do we assume they are where we were before Christ? For many of us we were raised in the church. We were filled from the womb with bible stories, and that is an awesome thing “Praise God!” However, do we realize our current culture is not the same one we grew up in?
I recently saw a staggering statistic that youth use texting for almost 70% of their communication. Wow! Now I recognize I have at least two responses.
1. I can complain and refuse to compromise by biblical convictions concerning texting (you might be wondering what I mean “biblical convictions” and I really don’t know, I just know I don’t LIKE texting and that must mean it’s not biblical somehow).
2. I can recognize that texting might have it’s concerns (What doesn’t?) but if we are going to communicate with the younger generation, we must be willing to put aside our PREFERENCES for the sake of the GOSPEL! So what does that mean? I Text! I text to the glory of God.
Now Dr. Greenway taught us three practical steps we must ALL do together if we, Vann Avenue, are going to be relevant in this community.
#1 Acknowledge there is a Personal Cost (1 Cor. 9:19)…If we don’t set aside our preferences for the sake of others, then he taught us they become Authority.
#2 Accept the Biblical Condition (1 Cor. 9:21)…We must not compromise the Scriptures for the sake of drawing a crowd. We must stand upon the Word, however, the Word defines us not the other way around.
#3 Anticipate the Spiritual Conclusion (1 Cor. 9:22)…Not everyone will be won to the Lord. We were encouraged to remember from John 6:59-68 that not all even believed Jesus. So we won’t win people to Christ just because we changed some music or design in the foyer, but we must also be careful that we don’t limit those with whom we can influence to Christ because of our preferences.
In conclusion, what might this look like in a church who is more driven by preference than the bible? One might begin to see that the folks all look the same, dress the same, talk the same, have the same preferences, attract the same, and very slowly they get smaller and smaller. May it never be said of us!
When Jesus said, “Not my will, but thy will,” He modeled for us the attitude that guards against irrelevance and ultimately unfaithfulness.
“…and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father , at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His saints (1 Thessalonians 3:12-13).”