Pastor Richard offers an update on Cwmbran
I listened to Blueprint for Revival and it got me thinking about healthy churches. You could do a lot worse than listen to this and then do a critique on your church on the basis of Keller's five marks of a Revival.
1. Passionate worship: Have a look around you at the people of God next Sunday and ask if you are a people truly engaging with the presence of God and pursuing it. Could your worship be called passionate? It's not about style. Yesterday, someone asked me were we 'happy clappy' and whilst the term was meant to be derogatory I replied that yes I hope that we are both. The alternative, as I read it, is 'Sad and life-less' and who wants that?
2. Close fellowship and community: Do you meet in community? Do you meet together to pray and read the bible? Do you meet each others needs? Do you pray and support those who are sick? Do you care and nurture each other? Are you honest? Do you confess your sins not just by looking poh faced reading our words of the BCP but to each other?
3. Aggressive evangelism: I discovered a new descriptor from Keller about evangelism- 'Andrew Evangelism' which is simply about bringing your brother to Jesus but saying nothing and he says this is immature evangelism. 'Philip evangelism' is being able to explain and put voice to the gospel so another can understand and receive it- aka the Ethiopian man and this is a mark of maturity. Do people understand that Jesus is not a way but the way and people's eternity's are a stake?Have they got this into their bones? This talk (be warned and hold on to your hats) will do that if you are unsure. Too many today have a diet of homeletic twaddle which kindles apathy rather than zeal. So many churches in my city and sadly in the C of E have absolutely NO plan for evangelism and little or no concern for the lost nor any plan to reach them.
4. In-depth teaching and training: Does your church teach you the Bible and train you to 'do' the Bible. How competent and empowered are people in ministering to each other with their spiritual gifts? Are you raising and training leaders? Do you have a plan to teach people the books of the Bible? Are people able to study the Bible for themselves and apply it to their lives?
5. Compassionate social concern: How are you getting on loving the poor and being active and engaged with those in need in your city and community? Do you have a plan for this? Are you allocating resources and time to this?
If you tick all five of these boxes (which we don't yet) with some confidence you have the marks of a revived church.