In preparation for planting ONElife Church I read pretty much every book on starting a church that I could get my hands on. Some were very good. Some were not. In nearly all of the books something was missing. I have been wrestling with this for months and today as I was reading "Spirit Empowered Preaching" by Arturo G. Azurdia he captured exactly what is often missing.
A way in which the church denies its dependence upon the truth and power of God is seen in the manner in which evangelical denominations have uncritically embraced the techniques of the Church Growth Movement. Ministers are no longer exhorted to pray for and preach for conversion. They are challenged to market for it. Most assuredly, certain techniques will gather a crowd of people. Consequently, many have sought to implement them without consideration for the compromise from which the gospel may, and often does, suffer. As a result, when the multitudes do come, many are quick to define their coming as 'revival', when in reality they have erroneously confused the presence of physical bodies with the existence of spiritual life. In reality, many of these 'seekers' have not come to flee the wrath of God. They have not come to take up the cross of Jesus Christ. Instead, they have come to add a layer of frosting to their lives. Sadly, they have been promised by the church that such will be the experiential benefits of the Christian religion. A close examination of the results that are being advertised in the name of this movement may reveal the noticeable absence of the fingerprints of the Holy Spirit. This is one of the prevalent ways the church is attempting the work of God apart from the truth and power of the Spirit of God.
Azurdia has given an accurate assessment. As a pastor I am committed to praying for revival, preaching the glorious gospel and growing in my personal leadership. This is a pattern for long term gospel growth that I am committed to.
This blog was written by Eric Stewart, Lead Pastor of ONElife Church.