Thoughts on Transformation (II)

“For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.” (Corinthians 4.20)

What is happening in the global church that isn’t happening in the United Stated?

The Presbyterian Church of Brazil (IPB) increases by over 200,000 members in less than four years. The Nazarene church in Mozambique grows from 20 to over 120 churches in 12 months. The Presbyterian Church of East Africa grows to over 4 million members in less than ten years.

When I talk to these church leaders, they don’t espouse a strategy or program to explain this growth. Instead, they speak of prayer to God that expects an answer, of acknowledgement that it is foolish to depend upon themselves and their resources, and of God “showing up” in dramatic, life-changing power.

Leaders of American evangelical churches wrestling with this question will often say, “In the U.S., we don’t realize the impact of affluence and materialism on how we think about ‘doing mission.’ We don’t have the simple and complete dependence on God that our colleagues in the global church embrace.”

Questions:

  1. What is your answer to the question, “What is happening in the global church that isn’t happening in the US?”
  2. Can you identify ministry in your church in which you see God’s power at work?
  3. What would it look like to focus your ministry on the power that is the kingdom of God?

Comments(2) Login to Post Comments

Jim Murphy on Dec 7, 2013 6:30pm

Great questions, Jeff. I read with longing the accounts of what happened in this country during the revivals in past generations, and in other countries in our generation. I think part of the problem is, as you indicated, that "the fish doesn't know it is wet." I.e., we do not recognize just how much we are influenced by our culture. And it isn't just the affluence and materialism of the larger culture, but the assumption even in church circles that better strategic planning, a snazzier website, a "rockin'" worship band, etc. will somehow result in the growth of the church. All too often, it does make that local church grow, but almost always at the expense of other nearby churches, so the Church doesn't grow at all.
May the Lord deliver us from ourselves, and make us desperate for more of Him and His power.

Jeff Jeremiah on Dec 9, 2013 5:52pm

Thanks for these thoughts, Jim. I think an explicit and intentional focus on seeing lives transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit require us to focus on, seek and pray for that Spirit to pour out His life-changing power. As long as we're focused on other matters...